It was what you wanted to be, but
Your father said he didn't want his daughter emptying other people's bedpans, and that was that.
Ever the good girl,
You hated teaching, but you did it.
You hated housework, but you did it, beating the bejesus out of your Eureka, against the moldings and corners.
Maybe you hated your late-life baby,
The damaged one,
The one trailing doctors and prognoses behind like smoke from a broken engine.
What will the neighbors think?
Oh, not about her.
What to do with this devil child?
Why, kill her, of course.
She's got the soul of your straying husband,
With all of his useless, impractical, damnable angels in her blood.
Questions are a fine place to start.
Why was this in your room?
Why was this in your pocket?
Where were you?
Who were you with?
They don't seem like they're going anywhere.
Why did you lie?
Why are you ugly?
Why do you hide things?
Why don't you even try?
Don't you want to drive a nice car some day?
Live in a nice house?
oh, how I want
more beer, more gin, more dope,
to make it so I can no longer hear you....
So wasn't it a bitch--
Wasn't it maddening for a respectable proper sledge hammer like you,
When your little bent nail
I remember standing at the bottom of the front stairs,
Watching my soon to be departed father banging on the bathroom door, shouting,
"They're going to pump your stomach,
And you're not going to like it."
Then came the weeks when I lived with the neighbors next door,
And when you came back,
Christmas morning of that year you gave me a hug--
The first one I ever remember from you--
And I thought,
You're kidding, right?
You've got to be fucking kidding.
It has been many years since.
I drank for ten.
I married badly, and then not quite so badly.
I raised a son.
I came out.
You got Jesus, and your money saved me from sinking more than once.
And through it all,
Remember the tv you lost?
Remember the thank you note you never sent?
Remember that clumsy thing you said when you were 15,
Oh mama dear,
It has taken all of these years,
But one of us,
Oh yes, one of us
Will finally die of this.