When I met Doc he shook
my hand like a man,

told war stories
with a southern accent.

My best friend Reno
introduced him to me.

Doc, he said, was cool.
Doc had a nice house,

a marble sculpture.
Greek boys wrestling,

masculine furniture,
heirlooms and aged books,

a Colt’s revolver on the nightstand
next to a photo of Doc in uniform

A crucifix hung
over his bed.

I was fourteen, my father, all our fathers

Doc said this is a safe place.
He let us smoke cigarettes,

drink whiskey. He said
what starts here, stays here.

About this he was absolute,
experienced, desperate.

Don't just stand there.