Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Daddy's Home

Cleaning the kitchen,
a toddler at her feet,
she dreams of escape…
her old cheap dress tattered, threadbare,
like the blank, expressionless mask
of her face, the faint memory of
her once-upon-a-time fairy tale beauty
hidden in the layers of emotional plaster
caked on from years of living with a drunkard.
Her eyes still live, though,
sparkling as she glances at the girl child
thinking, perhaps, something cheesy for dinner,
hoping, maybe, something better for her, than for me.
Her intensive cleaning becoming almost furious,
as if scrubbing the dirt off the shelves
will somehow scrape away the anguish of lost hopes.
She weaves fantasies of travel, adventure,
seeing wild herds wandering the plains of the Serengheti,
hearing the howls of odd colored monkeys
in the steamy jungles along the equator,
leaning over the railing of some luxury ship
crossing the expansive wild sameness
of a chameleon ocean,
a life without the familiarity of fear,
only wonder
and joy.
The sound of a slammed door breaks the reverie,
“Ah, poop!” she curses out loud, diluting the expletive
meant much more forcefully, but softened
for the sake of the child. She wonders,
“Is he drunk? How is his mood?”
Her wistful smile fades
and the muscles in her neck and shoulders tighten
with each ringing clump of heavy foot steps in the hallway.
‘Poop’ echoes the youngling,
running to her bedroom for the safety of dolls and stuffed toys.
“Daddy’s home.”

Author's note: The above poem is another one of those jigsaw poems I seem to like. It was at the annual Hall of Foam induction party when during a discussion with Don the topic of jigsaw poetry came up. He challenged me, I accepted. He gave me 10 words - cheap, expansive, blank, drunk, cheesy, intensive, poop, shelves, drunkard and equator. poop?!? Cheesy? We exchange poems this Friday back at our watering hole - the Wine and Beer Haus in Seaside, OR. This is mine. Poop. that was a tough one - hope you like my solution. There's another one in the wings, 10 words from Jenny Clark - Risque, mother, overtones, now, snack, five, saturated, length, stump, amateur.