Alan Catlin

Billy’s Dad Took Us

bowling on a Saturday
Said, “We’ll roll us a few
and have a good time.”
Which meant Billy and I
would knock down a
few pins once in
a while as his old man
hung in the bar with his
cronies drinking 7 & 7’s
and watching the trotters
over at Roosevelt. In those
days you could bowl three
games for a dollar so it
wouldn’t take us too long
to fill up a score sheet
when you averaged maybe,
like 80. When we were done
we’d meet his dad in the bar
where he must have been
losing his shirt given the way
he was sliding a pile of money
toward the bartender with a sour
look. His dad said, “Let’s not
tell mom about this, okay?
It’ll be our secret.”
We solemnly swore we wouldn’t
tell and we didn’t, but she knew.


Alan Catlin has been publishing for the better part length six decades. Among his most recent full-length books is Exterminating Angels (Kelsay Books) Kelsay will also be publishing his full-length poetic study of the life and times of Diane Arbus, How Will the Human Heart Endure? in 2023.