I remember sneaking out of bed at three AM in a sleep deprived panic
When my parents’ old and breaking hearts echoed off the taupe walls and into
My ears, age nine,
When I was fearful that it was my fault, when I decided that I didn’t want to do the dishes (I’m sorry)
Tip toeing with the elegance of a toy soldier, I hid behind the Christmas tree that was up one month too early for
I peeked into the living room.
I was bright orange like a firefly on the wall, eavesdropping.
Half of my face lit by nothing but the screams of the fireplace and the heat of them
trying to pick up the pieces.
I’m glad we moved away from Ravendale, into that big, new house on Jenkinson because I would have never stopped searching the floor for any left over shards.
Mom, I know you would have too. But you liked to vacuum.
As if thirty years of your life could fit into a three inch wide tube.
Sometimes I wonder when your love went sour or
when your heart turned bitter or when ninety seven point nine degrees farenheit became a mere
Was it when he made love with his work?
I’m sure at twenty one in a white dress and his white shirt
Every love looks better in words, in a vow to pick up his underwear from behind the bathroom door
But I don’t think you cared much for laundry, either.
As I was in the garage just now, having one last cigarette for the evening I remembered
What you’d said about fate, specifically ours and
That things would be different had Nora not died.
That this would all be ‘different’.
And so I romanticized about ‘different’ like different meant better.
As if different meant perfect: I would be in New York City, I would have never been foolishly in love, Nora would have taught her son how to
be a husband and taught you to be happy.
When I peeked into the living room,
Grammy couldn’t do much to hold me back
But I’m sure if she were here she would have told us
that different does not mean perfect.