08/02

i'm taking you to meet my family

i'm taking you to meet my family.
outside, it's bright early fog.
our garden grew in reverse this year,
all the flowers pressing themselves
deeper into the soil.
we dug to unearth them 
but in the air they crumbled
& fall apart. in our cupped hands
we held the petals. we wanted to arrive
with boquer fists.
you ask if my parent know 
we're in love & i tell you 
of course they don't-- who would trust
their family with that kind of truth?
i think of my family
in their glass thrones 
& their spectacles. 
some lay in fish tanks. some in jars.
i think about high school
& going to a boyfriend's family reunion.
i had a cheap sequin purse i held
the whole time like 
a screaming infant. a carousel 
of aunts & uncles visited me
to ask who i was. my boyfriend pointed out
which cousins he thought were hot.
men played horse shoes. 
clang of metal against earth.
i regret this. you don't want
to see them. you don't need
to see them. is family 
a secret or a story? no,
a story is always a kind of lie.
yes, i prefer my family
as a story. when i first told you
about them i said we lived
in a kingdom of corn
& woven sidewalks. i told you
our windows were made
of sugar. none of this was a lie
only all of it is.
i hold your hand & your tremble.
the front door of a house
rises like a wave. i tell you
we can go back & we can pretend
to be orphans. orphaned poets
who found each other 
in a knot of city & lamp light. 
you weep & everything goes
funhouse & gold. 
next thing i know 
i'm in a room alone
with my father. he is 
a raven this time. he clutches
a ring in his beak 
& laughs then i'm in 
a bad tub with my mother.
she pretend to be drowning
& then laughs at
my frantic response.
blinking back i'm with you again
& we keep walking through
the same doorway over & over
but i won't stick. 
come on come on, you say.
nothing. no where to walk into.
i tell you i want 
to try again someday 
but you are hurt 
& i do not try to appease
you with another story.

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