Friday, February 15, 2013

The Baby in the Bathwater

for Jay and Vera, sorely missed

Nothing about their past was barefoot and pregnant
or one too many highballs after far too many hours
of always knowing what was best.

She wasn’t forever on hands and knees with a bucket and a brush
or seeing nothing but her reflection in the after-dinner dishes.
There was no unaired laundry begging for an airing.

They started sharing a bed after Korea and courting
and asking for permission and it never knew force
or the passive acquiescence to some muscle-bound need.

Their babies boomed into existence only after two loud smiles
were muffled by quiet propriety, smiles that stayed wide open
and naked for silky whispering and staring and all things being equal.

They shared goodbye kisses, welcome home hugs, and one hot
vacation on a beach in Mexico where they learned what tequila can do.
He called her Mama until the day everything turned into cataracts

in the bleary back of his mind. She called him Dad – even after
he turned nurse-bound and refused to remove his souvenir sombrero,
no matter what, until she walked into the room.

Tuck Magazine - February 2013

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