Timmy’s baby-mother overheard me in my drinking
and bullshitting around the campfire,
and got in my face in her leopard-spotted jacket
to attack my politics. She was so exercised,
I had to ask her to withdraw some paces and get rational,
and finally she calmed down,
and we sat talking in the fishing chairs.
It had been my first time shooting a handgun
that day, and Timmy had called me Big Shoots.
She revealed that she and Timmy were separated
though they had flown here together on his father’s dime
and raised their boy together in his house
near the base where he was stationed,
and he was taking care of her other kids too,
from her previous relationships.
This had been the arrangement for a couple of years.
I had been thinking all that time
they were a nuclear family,
and I looked through the campfire at Tim
where he sat in hearing range
the whole time she’d harangued me:
he’d not moved,
and looked inward in a wry, long-suffering way,
just as he sat now and endured her
divulging all his business,
that he slept alone on the sofa since Afghanistan,
and was drunk and so forth.
He didn’t say anything to stop her:
he had told me earlier
about his low point, and she was not it.
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