Three Poems by Justin Hyde

the ex shylock for the hells angels

shows me a ring
special made
in the black hills:

two oak leaves
represent he and his wife
three acorns
their children
(two they had together)
the oldest
was hers
from a previous marriage
but he raised him
as his own
from the age of three.

says the oldest
stopped talking to him
after he went to prison.

"told his mom
he didn't want to chance
getting abandoned by me again
guess i understand
but it hurts,"
he says
and tells me
he sends him letters
that go unreturned.

"he's got a house
on the east side
i walk up
put the letters
in the mailbox
but don't have the balls
to knock on his door,
imagine that
grown man
afraid to knock
on a door."

i tell him
it cuts
both ways

how i haven't spoken
to my father
in over a year

i dial the number

but always
chicken out
after the
first ring.

smoke break at the work release facility

she uses me
i know it
she knows it too
usually comes around
when her latest boyfriend
runs out of dope
or kicks her out
we got a daughter together
guess that's what
keeps her in my heart
some stupid hope
we'll both turn a corner
have something like
little house on the prairie
you know?
he says
lighting another

drinking in my father's bar

i knew
you was joe's son
way you
hold that beer bottle
like you're
making love to it,
says ron
a thin red head
with a toucan

shoot pool
like your old man

shoots pool
like my dad.

he's the
best stick around. where
is the old buzzard

don't know
haven't spoken to him
in over a year.
forever really.

he was always
bragin on you
about that bike racing
he was awful

i suppose.

suppose nothing,
he says
and buys us
a shot of black velvet.

then another.

then he
turns around
whistles through his fingers
and bellows:

we got
family tonight
this here's
joe's son.

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