When she’s mad she drops things
like plates and pots of water.
She never dropped either of us, thank goodness.
She always said she would drop him first.
Our father, that is, as he sips his drink in the parlor
if you can even call it that,
as my mother washes and drops her dishes
and fights back years of words she’s never said.
I skim, no…I read, I immerse myself in his poetry
and maybe I can see why he drinks
each glass of wine or vodka depending on the day,
because his life is so hard.
How do I know? Because he’s told me so.
Everyday he told me until I stopped asking and then,
then he kept drinking and nothing changed.
Nothing ever changes until he stops drinking
Then the plates stop dropping but the yells are louder
and the doors slam louder and I hear everything.
We hear everything as our ears are pushed against the door.
I see now this is it, this is what tears families apart.
But we still cohabitate this place, this home.
She talks of leaving but she won’t
I know she won’t.
She can’t leave because I already have left,
gone to a place where they drink more, sometimes
they even drink themselves to death and I don’t get it
Why they push vodka down my throat when I refuse
and it burns, not the alcohol but these hot tears running
down my face, they burn my face
And I’m just left with scars on my cheeks
and pieces of broken plates.