Fall 72, With Betty Stinson

Fall 72, With Betty Stinson:
on the campaign trail with our fathers
by Jordan Chu

November—dad’s 67 Ford Fairlane
you were there
we all were
dragged along
killin’ ankles
campaigning
slogans for Nixon
and our father’s.

We knew every man.
but; with no sympathy
for the times
they didn’t get far.

I see my father now—in a dimly lit
room mumbling in his brown chair
getting mad when there’s
nothin’ to watch,
or when he misses the evening news
or when the Orioles lose.

When we were younger—it was easy
to be so taken with the times,
at 16—as nervous young.
But that fall, whenever we
stopped at gas stations
in the morning
in Denver
or Grand Island
or Evansville
or Twin Falls
I felt stirred,
A stomach ache,
like I knew something
our fathers didn’t.
An upper-hand that was crucial
to surviving that fall
of gruesome caricatures
of McGovern and Nixon.
I tell my wife now I grew up that
fall with two fathers
not my own—watching
burnt out copies of Peter Fonda,
Dylans on every corner,
locks of yellow hair
scenting the
ground,
7:50 am

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