What We Would Do

If the day’s promise were you cannot fail,
I would spend the day with you, son.
If you looked thin, I would prepare
A square meal without nagging you
To better consider your health.
You would not roll your eyes or lift your palms
In defense. You would eat. Everything.
Smiling, thanking me for loving you
With homegrown food. We would howl
At raunchy stand-up comedy, youtube hoot,
Make up our own horrible jokes
About dead babies. I wouldn’t scold you.
If we disagreed, you wouldn’t leave me
In the car, idling. I wouldn’t chase you
Down the dark street, beg you
To get in, come home, sleep where I know
You are safe. On a perfect day, you’d respond
To my texts, or call before bed,
And I wouldn’t think of cancelling your phone.
You would say, “Mom, I don’t blame you for life
Being hard or unfair.” I would say,
“It is only unfair if you imagine it
Some other way,” and you wouldn’t say,
“Stop being so philosophical.
Men don’t talk like that.” And I would say,
“Ok. Teach me how to talk
Like a mother to a man.”
And you would. And I would.


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