Angry Orchard


It is 10:04 AM
I don’t know
much about morning,
but I know intimately
about mourning

I know what it’s like
to mourn a dead person living,
especially when my veins are connected
to her skeleton
and my words
sludge out of her mouth,
dripping from her chin
as she holds her head up
with the wall
in the cellar
that she always loved
because it smelled
like her father’s stories:
of mobsters and concrete
and kind Irish souls whose lives
had been molded by the severe
impact of knuckles and bone
they didn’t ask
to meet

My hands stop shaking
They hang from the ends of my arms
like earrings swing on lobes

And outside of me,
there was a god I was berating
and an apology I was formulating
if my Mother ever found me there,
drunk

But they went to look at cars today
so I knew I had time to
sober up if need be,
to brush my teeth and
eat barbeque ribs
and mashed potatoes
and a piece of baguette
I ripped like a savage
from the log

And I heard myself
talking and laughing
And I hoped
they wouldn’t notice
my exposed, unfiltered chatter
when they got home from their trip
to buy a car
I will never be allowed
to drive

But it’s not just that car,
it’s every car

So I brushed my teeth
and washed my hands
while the harsh bathroom lights
enveloped my eyes
like nets
cast over
their prey

And I winced
And I worried
if the hard cider
I made sure to drink downstairs
would make its way upstairs
with my drowsiness
and its dry smell

And I wondered
And was assured that Mom
would never notice that
I didn’t take my meds today

She’ll cry
for lifetimes,
both hers and mine,
if she finds out that
the alcohol works better
than the prescriptions,
which in one way is a blessing
because my insurance
runs out soon anyways

In which case, it would be cheaper,
and, we’ll see after today’s experiment,
maybe more effective,
to just invest
in a weekly six pack

But the fear would be that
this would become
a biweekly six pack, of course,

In which case,
this girl,
whose fascia is also mine,
who was always
the designated driver,
who walked your sister
to the bus stop
because you couldn’t
see straight,
who stopped your boyfriend,
caked in beer,
from forcing himself
into your room,
now
she would be better off
dead

But at least this morning,
now at 10:16 AM,
the voices she hears
from the core of her brain
have wilted and puckered
like raisins

the voices that scream relentlessly,
that feel to her like a child who is growing,
who has been grown for a while now,
is clawing his way out
because at 17 years of age,
he has dreams
of going to college and
he is ready for it all:
the anticipation of his legacy
the enormity of his aspirations
and the immensity of Love

But like the girl
who hosts him
in the gray matter,
he is a seed,
thrashing,
full of potential,
whose frustration is unmatched
because the PhD he saw so clearly
he held it in his hands,
the partner he planned to give himself to
with detailed romance,
the lost people he was supposed to
lead out of the depths
of their hopelessness
have all already become
someone else’s life-long Love

And the architecture of his plan,
scratched on secret note pads
with almost a decade
of figuring
and furrowed brows
and deletions
and wild,
once-in-a-lifetime
strokes of brilliance
will remain between pages
who are forced
to lie on top of each other,
with no hope of ever again
feeling the wind at their backs
as a reader passes through

She knows it
and so does he
so at 10:23 AM,
like the paralyzed pages,
they both pile the contents
of their bodies,
limp
on the bed
and stop struggling
against the genealogy
they didn’t ask
to meet

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