Dadís so much slimmer, younger-looking
since they amputated. Heís limber;
the stretching is great for his good leg.
Itís Mom who tires; she holds his stump
dead still. You make me sick, he tells her.
She massages his neck and shoulders.
Dad wonít admit he ran the stop sign,
double-clutched, rear-ended the dump truck.
Didn't you see?, he shouts. Mom pretends,
again, to listen. Sheíll take a breath,
sponge his stump, find him a fresh sock, roll
the liner on, fit in the pin, stand
him up. Dad jogs in the park. Heíll fall;
Momíll wait, and drive him home. She loves
watching me drop, he says. Sometimes Dad
slips in the house. He blames the waxed floor;
Mom, he cries, probably planned it, 'cause
she's got a guy on the side. Mom laughs.
Dad baits me. He says I make high grades
by luck. Or else I cheat. Momís aging:
thicker ankles; wrinkles; a tremor.
Sheís his crutch, she tells me. He demands
sympathy: words she has vowed never
to utter, since pity is the pits.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Richard Merelman would be pleased to hear them.