EARLY ON

In photographs they are a smiling couple

leaning against a gray Hudson

her broad rimmed hat pulled over short cropped hair,

he trim in double breasted suit.

There is that time I hold on to

before the humid, stormy nights,

my mother leaning over me,

face melted with sobs, swearing,

“I’m sorry, I never meant it to be like this,

I’m sorry, I never wanted it this way…”

I want to know why they turned on each other,

why her love smooth face lined itself in lava.

I want to be there again before he bloodied my lips

for disowning his gods.

My brother tells me not to talk about it;

they’re too old now and won’t understand.

Turning in the scrapbook of my nightmares,

I ache for their muffled voices.

If only they could begin again,

if only they could rewrite their days

I could rewrite my nights.

There was that time early on

before they argued themselves

out of love,

when the house shifted peacefully,

when the rafters clicked and the furnace moaned,

when I could feel the soft blanket over my chin.

I could hear them talking about their days

even as sleep tugged me away from them.

I could hear them laughing

through the bedroom wall,

laughing deep in my dreams.

 

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