Conceived 25 Years After Michael Ryan
by Kristine Sack
It was 1970, and it was August.
The annual county fair had come again to Shawano, Wisconsin.
The Viet Cong wouldn't give in and the Americans shoved on.
My father picked up my mother at her parents' house,
Wearing a leather fringe vest and bell-bottom jeans,
Not picturing the grunts fighting in the jungle
Whom he would soon join.
Maybe after the music from the grandstand stopped
They drove to the lake and
Watched the stars from the backseat of his Dodge convertible,
While The Beatles sang from Abbey Road on the radio
And they both hummed along. My father,
his new degree hung on the den wall, was drafted,
So if he was frightened maybe she held him
Under the stars by the lake,
The chill in the air drawing them closer.
So when he kissed her, maybe she sensed his need
To leave something of himself behind.