April 1, 2017 orangeq2017

What the Mother Says

Kathleen Glasgow


Anna McCarthy was a slut, skirt
caught over her red, round knees,
the whiskey rivering into the cup
of her red, red pump. And my god
there I was, killing my father with tuition
and listening to Fats Domino and Ray
Charles, tossed on gin and gingers, Richie
Valens still alive, his meager body not yet
stripped, like Anna’s stocking. My father
didn’t know liquor had had its taste of me,
that I could be so sick for gin, so sick
to dance and press close to the redhead
from the wrong frat, the redhead whose fingers
swam and nooked, marked me forever
then and now. I knew it was all wrong,
but I didn’t know how much. All I had
was on the record player: somebody
slapped on Dorsey and Ellington, Daddy’s
music and he came for me, then, back
from the war, his polished blacks under
my Maryjanes, swiveling me to the drums,
lifting me up cool and silvery as an apple.
Your father is your first lover and we
were so young then, another war burbling,
who knew what could happen, and so
we danced hard, all of us, smocked
with sweat, heels breaking, another record,
another kiss, the redhead landed like a bomb
against my ribs and sang to me:
Come, come, pretty one, come, come.


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