Record Temps in Austin by Molly Boyle

I think now that he forgot the importance
Of a little daylight in the music. When I met the waiter,
Lightning in his hair, he said his pop’s bed was his bed,
Pop gone off in the oil fields. The bed was Indian-
Blanketed, a Martin guitar and an Ithaca shotgun nestled beneath it.
I thought him a man more like my father than any man.

You can break one thing a day, kid, the waiter said. At age six
I stood in front of a mirror with a branch, trying to scratch my face
Into a pretty tumbleweed. I’ve often felt that itch since.

At the Christmas bar, LaLa’s, he’d lie in wait after work
On a track that featured a low lyric, then bewitch me
With backyard TV and Bud Lite, then leave so long the moon’d go up two sizes.

The music had pockets for foxes, for grass widows, for convenience’s sake;
Pop came home again, and I leaned into my arguments
With the men, picked them clean. My river thirsted for more.

His bed or his bed. Martin, Ithaca. My dad, his dad. It’s all pretty
Foxed-up still. I didn’t break enough back then.