21. My father is run over by a car.
He is passed out on the road with a blood alcohol content four times the legal limit.
I do not cry.
Four months later, the nurses lose his pulse, and I wonder whose life
flashed before his eyes. Rewinding VHS tapes, old home videos.
20. 19. I haven't brought a friend home in four years.
18. My mother sips the word divorce. Her mouth curls at the taste,
like it burns going down.
17. I start doing homework at Starbucks. I have more meaningful conversations
with the barista than with my family.
16. I wait for Christmas Eve. My brother and I usually exchange gifts
to one another early. This year, he and my father exchange blows.
My mother doesn't go to mass.
15. I come up with the theory that my father started drinking again
because maybe he found out I'm gay. Like if he could make everything else blurry, maybe somehow I'd look straight.
15. My mother cleans up his vomit in the middle of the night and cooks
breakfast in the morning like she hasn't lost her appetite.
15. I blame myself.
15. My brother blames everyone else.
15. My mother blames the dog.
15. Superbowl Sunday, my father bursts through the door like an avalanche
picking up speed and debris as he falls, banisters, coffee tables,
picture frames, tumbling, stumbling.
I find his AA chip on the kitchen counter.
14. My father's been sober for ten, maybe eleven years?
I just know we don't even think about it anymore.
13. 12. 11. Mom tells me Daddy's meetings are for AA.
She asks if I know what that means. I don't. I nod anyway.
10. My parents never drink wine at family gatherings.
All my other aunts and uncles do. I get distracted by the TV
and forget to ask why.
9. 8. 7. 6. I want to be Spider Man. Or my dad. They're kinda the same.
5. 4. 3. I have a nightmare, the recurring one about Ursula from The Little Mermaid.
So, I get up. I waddle toward Mommy and Daddy's room, blankie in hand. I pause.
Daddy's standing in his underwear, silhouetted by refrigerator light.
2. 1. 0. When my mother was pregnant with me, I wonder if she hoped
as so many mothers do, that her baby boy would grow up to be
just like his father.
Memory & The Past
the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect
a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”
a poem in which a poet uses a predetermined form to structure the poem. For example: a multiple-choice format, a recipe, directions, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Miranda Rights. A template poem borrows an already established form to provide structure and commentary.