No need to guess—you began me with one egg left
in a two dozen carton. Hawaii is a nice place.
Laughing laundry piles and lavender
can’t last forever, though. We both know
punishments like a week without desert,
for poorly thought-out You Sucks on an
enemy driveway, get harsher as you get older.
Secrets are hidden, an entire history of baseball cards
and pornography, pot in the ceiling tiles, punching
concrete. Manipulation and soccer games, spitting into
California grass. Your father was a mean man,
because one time at a barbeque. So what if it
takes time to understand that love is still
love even after fading. That love is still love.
Or it can be noisy as hell, tearing down Florida
highways for a chance at my own. Gasoline
can drive a boy crazy, they say. I wasn’t fighting
any sort of pangs of divorce. I was fighting a
police state of table manners. Let me tell you
something: when realizing the world is nothing
but snarled teeth surrounding you, it is jarring
to find out those dentures are your own. Hungry
boys can’t go out to play until you finish all your milk.
Raised right then left for sin.
Catholic intentions need a saint.
Most sarcasm is poison. Being
an asshole isn’t funny. There is no pleasure
in anyone’s pain. A hitchhiker’s thumb
leads you to find that we’re all saints.
Dad told me about some picture where
you were in some beautiful land in love,
happy, pregnant with even more happiness.
I never saw it, but that won’t ever stop me
from believing it exists. You knew about me
forever, Mary. While scooting across a snowy
sewer pipe, somewhere in north California, you
knew I’d be here. Because destiny, and a math
quiz, and fate, and you—I’m here to fight this
slump for you, to make it beautiful again,
to get you out of here. Like you got me
out of the house, handed me
over to the world, her virtue and humanity, taught
one at a time, one day at a time, every other day,
and finally they dance together like we have since the beginning,
albeit in badly chosen formal attire and slippers,
and if we ever get tired, there’s always I Love Lucy reruns
and a cream-colored blanket in the guest room.
Freud would dance if he saw when you taught me
what boobs are. Nothing has power enough to quit existing,
pints of ice cream, sidewalk chalk, Lucille Ball excluded.