The last time wasn't the first time I drove through a flash flood to send a package to my father in Florida. That time it was mixed nuts and beef jerky and on the way to the post office, I knew that if I was swept into a ravine, I could survive for days on that feast. The hurricane was battering the coast, and a retreat inland was inevitable. If only he could wait out the storm until my supplies landed.
When I called him on his birthday to ask if he had gotten the drop, he said he had not. The men were getting weak. When would I be sending it?
A few hours later my mother called. She said the package had arrived Saturday, two days before his birthday. He had developed fevered nightmares and a leg rash that night.
But it was the way he looked at her when she laid the package on the kitchen table that was most disturbing—his blue eyes clouded black and then he raised a hand to salute. She hadn’t known whether this was out of respect or hatred or both.
He sat in a reverie eating his jerky. My mother had no idea so many kinds of beef jerky were made these days. Blueberry beef jerky. Habañero beef jerky. Teriyaki. None of these appealed to her. She opened the vacuum sealed packages for him and he never complained.
Allison Lee lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with two Siberian huskies. She was the Copy Editor of the 2013 poetry anthology, Poetry in Michigan / Michigan in Poetry, and a recipient of a 2013 Gwen Frostic Creative Writing Award in Poetry at Western Michigan University. Her poetry is forthcoming in Gargoyle Magazine, and others.