Dale’s faded bluejeans

are getting tighter
so the brass zippertop buckles
and his coconut-hairy beergut
flaps over like a fanny pack

but he still walks shirtless in the evening
white sneakers, black ballcap.
In the yard, a small slab of concrete
reaches up to the back door
and dreams of becoming a real porch.

Dale listens to screendoors plonking shut
marcopolos call-and-responding
from the neighbor’s above-ground
rubber wheels seeking blacktop purchase.
He listens to the cymbal crash of trashcan lids
to stepmothers screaming at miscegenated children,
at missing cats and common-lawed husbands.

The houses are too close together
he thinks, my wife too fat
beer too expensive, the dark
too dark.

Dale sucks in his gut
an athletic move these days
reaches into the front pants pocket
and grabs a dented hardpack of Lucky’s
with the gas station lighter crammed inside.