in my room
your arm poises to slam the bedroom door.
i call a halt. it’s your sister’s schtick.
instead i whisper you to softly shut that wooden gate,
to stretch out on the scratchy shag,
and pull a random record from the pile.
your ear lies at the speaker,
listening to insights of beach boy and beatle.
in my room.
she’s leaving home.
the morning air no longer jump starts your pulse.
the smell of favorite foods doesn’t moisten your mouth.
i suspect this state of affairs is mostly on me,
though you seem generally sedated in this place.
hearing the phone ring
you pad softly to the stairs,
you listen, but cannot make out words,
so tiptoe down each step,
expertly avoiding the creak of old wood.
silent as the cat
now following you in uncurbed curiosity.
the conversation now audible,
we are surprised in the fulfillment of expectation.
our mother speaks of us:
the tuned-out, pacifist, vegetarian child,
the one who doesn’t fit the program.
another song floats through my thought stream:
the times they are a changin’.
you shake your head,
expel a breath of dragon fire.
your heart thumps in your throat,
your jaw clenches.
you are ready for another round,
in the fight about almost everything.
but once again i coax you up the stairs
and into your sanctuary.
i have become a master in means of dulling your senses,
as we rub up against the lies of adolescence.