First, we push the children into their games and giggles, to insulate them from obscenities circulating in the kitchen / Then we lose our temper, & act like masters of a new language for unexpected predicaments / But we cook the things we fail to complete for the day / This is how we ignore the moon / This is how we end the day / We do not reminisce / We do not light votive candles in our minds, genuflecting before an Almighty, asking for help & inspiration / We do not coalesce into restful naps & tv shows / The idea is to fortify resolve now, reconstitute the structure of ambition on the edge of our lips / This is how we survive each other's poverties, how we stew possibilities for the future / We never incriminate ourselves for murdering intransitive options / We just chew & masticate them at the dinner table, to fill the marrows of our fears
The quiet takes back the house, moments after the last word. My father knows the meaning of a long shut-up, to silence a screaming wife. I’m not even sure what he is, after these episodes. Perhaps he is non-toxic masculinity himself. Or simply tired of his adopted country.
Now each time I feel his silence, I step out into the yard, to be with the flowers. I am their new gardener. I visit my parents as often as I can. I now have a bond with their geraniums on the patio. I fertilize them with thoughts of the future, if I will have children myself, or if it's too late.
Geranium red is deep-red like blood: loud, and full of spectacle, like my mother’s voice. My father spends a cup of coffee with these flowers in the morning, then leaves them alone. There is enough to fish for his eyes in the backyard, as though he’s going to a new place that’s only his each day.