(5)
It might help
to explain
we were never a family,
exactly

We were my father’s
first
Ponzi scheme -
my mother’s
cursed
wish
for more wishes

A narcissistic genie
believes
in his own magic -
keeps the hex bottled
up right til it bursts -


  • (4)
I digress.


  • (3)
Imagine
a lemonade stand -
juice fresh, squeezed
solely
from stolen lemons
sans vessel
saccharine in lieu of sweetness
and zero change.

Realize
a bake sale
without cupcakes
is just a street hustle -
a well-crafted sign
and a frosted smile. Try
to franchise a lack
of sustenance.

What then?


  • (2)
I'll try again.


  • (1)
Once
when the refridgerator
gaped empty
we filled the seats
of an ’82 Buick
Regal
our hungry mouths turned
ninety miles
into marathon -
the backseat
a tired chorus
of heated want.

My father’s mania
fuel
for the trip.
Soft blue pills
fastened my mother’s lips.
A roadside tourist trap
was the only thing open -
WELCOME
a good sign -
packed parking lot
wrapped
in scenic views.

See
my father's
lip curl
at the stiff price, still
hold up
five fingers - burgers
well-done
one index extended
to silence
all protest.

See us
wide-eyed
desert hares
under the hawk’s gaze
praying
for the cover of plates.

My delicate brother
breaks
first - cries
at the sight of an avocado -
soft green barrier
to fulfilled needs
and thus,
we are actors
in a play,
calculated
leaving
hot food congealing
under cool stares of strangers

See
my father's indignance -
his scene closing
on downtrodden, marching children
on an empty checkbook
on the stricken face
of the teenage waiter

one steak fry,
my stolen memento -
sole souvenir
for
a bumpy ride
home.


(0)

Nothing
in those years
made
sense.