For Better of Worse

It was a Sunday when the new recliner flew
off the Ford, Daddy having failed
to latch the tailgate before he roared
onto the southbound, following a semi
and an argument with Mother on the finer points
of the Sabbath. Sunday is a day for rest, not
a day for hauling furniture, moving rooms around.
He saw it differently—a recliner being meant for rest
and football being on at 1:00. God would have him
watch the Lions in the La-Z-Boy at full tilt in the den.

After the fall, all of that changed. The sides
of the chair splayed like Jesus’ arms,
its skirt twisted as a teenager’s after the drive-in.
Nothing is sacred. Mother shook her head
as Sunday blew by under a billboard,
in the exhaust of broken promises.

They had the next one delivered
and set up like the right hand of God,
the father almighty. Daddy drank himself
into a lamb there for the next twenty years
while Mother stood in the kitchen and starched
the names of other women onto his sleeves. He softened
like old leather, so that in the end
she could manage him, marriage finally
bowing to its premises.

Photo Credit: r.nial.bradshaw Flickr via Compfight cc

Jennifer Wheelock

Jennifer Wheelock's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, including Post Road, Lake Effect, Stone River Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems (Negative Capability Press), Flycatcher, Diagram, Quill’s Edge Press, River Styx, Atlanta Review, New Millennium Writings, The Inflectionist Review, and North Atlantic Review. She lives and works in Los Angeles and is also a painter.

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