reading the Encyclopedia
which he preferred to Modern Fiction.
One by one, his schnauzers died of liver disease,
except the one
that guarded his corpse
found holding a tumbler of Bushmills.
“Dead is dead,” he would say, an anti-preacher.
I took a plaid shirt from the bedroom closet
and some motor oil
— my inheritance.
Once, I saw him weep in a courtroom —
neglected, needing nursing — this man who never showed
me much affection but gave me a knack
for solitude, which has been