All eyes, you watched.
Noting the carnage,
foibles and hypocrisy around you,
You heard the lies that hid underneath the frosting on your birthday cake.
You knew the truth that parents denied.
You never forgot.
You did not forgive.
Segregation controlled the insane, you said.
Boarding houses, poverty,
and laundromats clung together with filth
the residue of dreams.
Like feral cats,
reluctant to change
holding court over new transplants,
remembrance sets in.
Another city in another state, in the early ’60s,
pompadoured hair and Elvis Presley,
you tried to fit in,
all knobs and knees.
There was a girl who liked you
You would have kissed her,
she would have let you,
but your preference for the undone,
the unsaid ruled the day
like it always did.
We have conversations that matter,
conversations that last well into the night.
we come close to believing that our world is a bitter place,
then the dog sighs and licks his fat paw.
Smiles flicker briefly
we decide it’s best to call it a night,
before the night surrenders to the sun,
before the mosquitos wake up,
before reality comes back to tell us that time is fleeting
I fall asleep thinking about memories
the Mother’s smeared lipsticked mouth
the Father’s violence in motion
the photo of you standing in the snow,
with the dog
She is smiling, you are not.