Then

I woke with the memory

Sliding into the hot car

After church on Sunday morning

The heat searing the smell of my dad’s cologne

Into my soul

Brut from the small green bottle that resided

By the bathroom sink

The wrinkle of his suit jacket

Creased into my cheek from where I’d fallen asleep

Against his arm

If we’d been good, he’d sometimes take us

To the drive-in where frosted mugs

Filled with root beer and ice cream

Arrived via a metal tray that hung from the window

My thumbnail carved trails in the icy sleeve

And then we’d drive into the hills

Ogling the homes of the rich people

Who’d never be our neighbors

But I never knew they were rich and we were poor

Because the smell of my dad’s cologne

The starch of his suit jacket

And the warmth of those white leather seats

Were all I needed

To know I was safe

And loved.

 

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