I Go Back to Before You Were You

(an imitation of Sharon Olds)

Image for post
Image for post

I watch them lounging on the wrecked sofa of your living room,
I watch your father downing Wild Turkey
in flip-flops and a ratty humus-colored robe, the
stained leather crinkling like popped
foil balloons under his girth, I
watch your mother balance a stemless glass of Chardonnay
barefoot on the maroon tile made of fake bricks,
the fritzing fridge not shut behind her, its
magnet-pinched Polaroids slipping,
they are about to be hateful, they are about to howl and hit,
they are young, they are dumb, all they are is not knowing
much, they’ve got no instruction manual.
I want to intercede and say Disappear,
flee the scene — she’s a born floozy
he’s abusive, you are already failing,
and you’ll only do worse things to come,
you will berate and beat and screw up your kids,
you will be arrested for things you can’t imagine doing,
you will lose your home and your sanity. I want to speak
sternly to them there in the oblique soft-white lamplight,
her sallow smashed face swiveling to me,
her sad clingy obsessed disposition,
his pathetic enraged face glowering at me,
his 100-proof toxic disposition,
but I stay silent. I want you to be born. I
lift them like mismatched
champagne flutes and clink them together
at the tips, like bits of silver, as if to
toast great tidings with them, I say
Do what you are going to do,
and your daughter will tell about it.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store