April 5, 2010

Full of It

by Derek Richards

Father would make promises; Sunday morning bowling.
An afternoon fishing Parkhurst River.
Tiptoeing into my parents bedroom, up close
to the fancy-black bottle on the nightstand.
Empty. I had once asked Mother why he drank
so much. Because he works.
She had been wrist-deep in a soup of dish-soap
and soaked grease. She could spend an hour on a single dirty pan.
My friends, Chesepeake Johnson
and Olly Mathers had fathers that drank too.
Because they don't work.
I was born in 1984. The year the Rubber Factory
closed, and many fathers lost their jobs.
Also the year Mother divorced her first husband,
Dewey Fuller, the town's Mayor.
Mathematics came to me at an early age. Father
always insisted he couldn't add two and two
for any good reason.
The older I got, the more instinctively I felt
my Father was sinking. Mother would always deny
anything was wrong, despite never placing the
clean dishes away without breaking one.
And so it had been another Sunday morning,
watching a man named Daddy snore the day away.
Often Mother would snore right in-sync.
Failed promises, mathematic mysteries.
Always trying to subtract a fancy-black bottle
from the empty spaces between sleep.


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