The Fire Retired (Barbecue’s Lament)

So this is the driveway
Coming from a box
I’d only ever heard talk
of our home beyond the deck where I
sat making heat
got all fired up and breathed on your meat
I guess that was my job. 

Chicken breasts and buns
The zucchini was fun
just not as often as
thick patties
sausage fatties
and dogs that you bit but couldn’t bite back
animal ribs
popcorn asleep in their tin-foil beds
Didn’t they wake up with a start!

But a question
Remember those potatoes wrapped in their skins?
an art you said you’d paint
with sour cream?
What did you mean?
And how could I know when I was never invited
inside
where you and your family hide
to see?

Oh it’s okay
Weak are the bonds tested by inquiry
Besides
I know I’m a chronic smoker
and I know that you cared
giving me protection under that tarp
waiting for better days with better weather
scouring my black and gristle with real steel
You were good like that
“The thrill of the grill!” you used to growl
with your apron tied on 
and I believed you
Even now, out of luck
waiting for whatever spare-parts truck
or worse
I have no regrets
only a favor
If you think of me
think of flavor.

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