1842 c/o J. Bradley

“Beware when your heart becomes your muse,” my father said during the fourth day of my mother’s latest strike. He picked a clove of garlic out of its head and smashed it on the cutting board with the flat of a knife. He dropped the pieces in a warming frying pan, then drowned them in beaten eggs. My father was a relic in the sense that he stuck around, even after he peeled off enough beer bottle decals to trade me in for something more useful, like a canoe with the same smiling, bikini-clad woman on each side, the American flag a tease.

He picked up a spatula, broke apart the cooked eggs until he could pour them as a small mountain on my plate. He dropped the plate on my Transformers placemat, touched my shoulder. He looked up to see if the smell of cooked garlic and eggs would lure my mother out of the bunker of their bedroom. When the ceiling kept quiet, he smiled. His teeth were a levee ready to break.