Reddened sclera surrounding black mirror iris
matched the heavy hollow color of his pupil.
I, his son, only first met the man at sixteen.
He taught me mornings are for work,
evenings are for smoking pot.
He taught me how to turn powder into rock.
Use a cold penny, he said—
The magnetic property of copper attracts the oily residue.
He taught me how to fish
in the crook of the elbow.
Release the tie-off first, then depress the plunger, he said—
Shooting while tied-off, you might blow a vein that way.
He taught me how to shave:
with cold water and against the grain.
He never taught me to hold a door for a woman,
or how to turn a wrench.
My father chain-smoked Camels,
and I am a quick learner.
Kiel M. Gregory lives in Sackets Harbor, NY, and studies English literature, philosophy, and creative writing at SUNY Oswego. His prose and verse appear in Lips, Paterson Literary Review, Furrow, Gandy Dancer, Great Lake Review, Black River Review, and elsewhere. In addition to writing, his interests include skydiving, cooking, and reading classic and contemporary speculative fiction. Connect with him online @kiel.mg.