Friday, April 5, 2013

Places like parlors

Well after midnight, my grandmother takes
my younger brother and me to the local pizza parlor.
We would've gone for ice cream, but this joint's
what's open. I like places with "parlor" in the name.
Ice cream parlor. And, when I'm older, Tattoo parlor.
For this, my twelfth Christmas, my father's
building me a dollhouse, complete with a parlor.
My father spoils me and will spoil me next year
and the next, even as he prepares to spoil
my new sister, the one we are awake to meet.
My mother's in labor. My brother and I are mad
we can't go in the hospital room. There are rules--
no children allowed except babies
in the maternity ward. We are so mad we make protest signs
and march around the waiting room with them,
waiting for someone to hear us. Finally, our grandmother
comes to fetch us, and take us to this parlor.
I start to wonder why the waiting room in the hospital
is not called a parlor, as it is a place for sitting,
a kind of entrance-room. Early on, I start worrying over words.
It's easier than worrying about the ways I've been spoiled--
and by spoil I mean both "made rotten" and being given
so much I start to take candy--and toys--for granted,
thinking places like Candyland really exist, making my eyes
big for glinty things, and distracting me from the truth.
I think stars are diamonds like in the song and keep forgetting
they are big balls of fire, that would burn me right up.

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