Poems from the End of December

i visited family and some of them stayed with me, for the holidays

I remember I asked you to hold me to the 11th floor,
Because you were tall.
And my father was sick, and
I wasn’t used to being on my own.
I’d never seen anyone look at me with helplessness,
Like you did,
When I left you standing there,
And told you I’d be fine.

My father would sometimes drive the car home with a panda puppet on one hand
And pretend to be the panda driving.
I found the panda, older, and no longer black and white.
His nose had popped off a bit.
So I threw him away.

I talked to my sister the other day
She said she was angry mom passed on that need of hers,
To need a man.
She can’t do it on her own.
Then she just looked at me.

He’s got an instinct in him that says protect.
It makes me nervous.
I’m not sure why.
I’ve been thinking about it for days.
I don’t know why.
But I need to say to him, out loud,
I belong to no one.

I’ve got to tell them I’m moving.
I built a base.
For the first time.
A real, solid, ivy-growing base.
They didn’t like me for me anyway.

I met a friend’s father.
I liked him better.
Maybe I’ll like my friend better in twenty some-odd years.
But for now,
I like the man his father is.
He’s good.
A good-people kind of good.

I drank the rest of the pink champagne from the bottle,
Wished I was the non-handicapped version of the woman from “An Affair to Remember,”
Worried that I was only worrying about becoming an alcoholic to cover-up my alcoholic tendencies,
Carton ate a pint of Ben & Jerry’s brownie something-rather,
Thought about not blowing off my New Year’s Eve parties,
Then cried about how hard it was being with my family again for Christmas.

Oh, it’s been so long.
I’d forgotten, actually forgotten,
How she loves to talk over my head to my father,
To be the better one.
I sat politely.
I cried to my mom over the phone, while telling her it was fine, it was all fine.

What’s he going to do when you go back?
You guilt trip us for being close,
Excluding you.
You made the choice to move.

You started him on this path, to be cute,
To fold and form him,
Just like you did to me.
What’s he going to do when you leave again?
Pieces. I’ll watch another one of your puzzles try to reassemble themselves.


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