“Traveling Man”

See the dimple in his cheek?
He’s only got one.
Says it came from
A screwdriver ricocheting back
On him
When he was a child

I believe him
Cuz he’s cheated death
Countless times.
Hell, I saved him
On 2 occasions.

Once, a piece of steak I cooked
Lodged in his throat.
I Heimliched him
To force the plug out.

When his motorcycle fell on him,
Pinning him underneath,
I adrenaline-lifted
The bike off him.

He cheated death a 3rd. time
When a 12-year-old crashed into him
On a mountain road
In North Carolina.

He “died”
But triage brought him back
Now, I call him “Born again.”
The name fits.

He grew up aside a cotton field
Where his parent chopped cotton,
Scratching out a living
For the family of 8.

At 17, he became a roofer
Spreading hot tar on Arkansas roofs
In 120 degree summers
‘Til he quit.

At 18, he did a 4-year stint with the Navy Seabees,
Building schools, hospitals, airstrips
In foreign lands.

Then joined the Army National Guard,
Using those same talents
For 18 years.
All over the world.

During all this,
He transported goods
Across America,
As long-haul trucker.

Then became a prison correctional officer.

He’s tough, for sure
But 80 sees him
Traveling elsewhere

In the world of Alzheimer’s.

This time I can’t save him.

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