a girl child

two decades ago i took

an overdue trip to Central Ohio

introducing my former mother-in-law to her six month old twin grandsons

we got to talking about Kentucky

as all transplanted Kentuckians do

we bounced gurgling baby innocence on our respective maternal knees having our own little gossip social

curling wispy baby hairs in her worn fingers

her laughter turned to pained breaths

as she shuttered out

a mortifying truth

about a bluegrass upbringing

she was discussing how she had been repeatedly raped as a girl by her father in Hyden, Kentucky

ran away to something worse at 14

how her first marriage ended when she found her alcoholic unemploymed coal miner husband was molesting her two little girls while she was waitressing to support the jerk

fleeing north to Ohio with them

to single motherdom with three kids in the 1960s living in a car until she could afford a place to rent

tears streamed down

her withered cheeks

as she said

“A girl child isn’t safe growing up around a family of men in the South.”

20 years later i think of her words and the women in my biological family

four generations of women who tried to protect their genitalia from one family member

the irony of being expected to smile and pretend

give forgiving hugs

that i’m the one who doesn’t feel comfortable coming to the Thanksgiving table

not the man who couldn’t keep his hands to himself

Maslow’s Fire Sale

don’t you worry, working poor

the richest people

will always have access

to

food

clothing

shelter

sex

god’s offering plate

drugs to feel good

meaningless trophies

abortions too

so go on fighting

about the right

to wear a gun

but not a face mask

in your red Trump hat

and Walmart shoes

 

a leaf that lingered brown

i blame robert frost
his cold methodology
his need to fill disused graveyards with
death’s dazzling white snow glamour
a slow creep crystalline across
an already shattered windshield

i blame robert frost
as i cannot blame
my father
my friend
or an absent god
for them forgetting
they had promises to keep

tough eggs

it’s frustrating

when you’re trying

to teach your offspring

to fly off

from the nest

when

they are pigeons

the size of bowling balls

with no desire

to put aerodynamics

to the test

high school interrupted

in the 1990’s

your flannel shirt

was a cultural ticket

that took you

greasy haired

through a graffiti pocked

bathroom stall door

to a grunge w├╝nderland

where herpes came standard

with every tribal tattoo

nirvana whining

about your libido

a mosquito

&

girlfriends untrue

your dreams will be

dry humped

in a Geo Metro,

Generation X,

your so-called life…

high school interrupted

…eating Pearl Jam until

Zima vomit came to the house party too

with green apple jollyranchers

attended by

your skankiest girlfriend

who smoked Marlboro Reds

with the acumen

of a triple divorcee

her eyelids

the trashiest

ice blue

kissing booth

bravado poet he was

and i dumbly followed

fully knowing

his titles were shit

with a snake oil smile

performative assholery

but it took a near death

blood loss event

near wild boar swamps

in an Arkansas tar pit

to see

the true excrement

was the content

of his character

master class

i suppose you could say

i’m one of those people

who has seen more than their

fair share of things

you will certainly find

me adept

in a broad range of topics

from culinary techniques

to obscure music

embalming

comic books

addictive substances

and

lesser know shitty diners

of the northeast

some of it owed to college

and my need

to join the rat race too soon

mostly it was my proclivities

my insistence on taking

a master class

in dating old fucks

what an education

Up ↑