Thursday, August 8, 2013
After Friday Night Comes the Morning
A family gathers Saturday morning
in the park: the mother, lean from her addiction to crack,
father with a simmering rage, barely suppressed,
deep in his ipod,
disconnected from the family,
older child bright-eyed and wary,
younger child, dull-eyed, uncoordinated
and nonverbal with FAS.
Last night started out in party mode,
adults laughing, chatting,
older daughter watchful,
protective of her sister,
finding something for them to eat
as their parents have little interest in dinner.
But all too soon the voices rise,
the rage is loosed,
the mother yells and weeps.
Terror, among the quaking children,
hiding in the dark.
Today is a new day: the morning after,
a sunny Saturday,
and the mother smiles her way to the swings
with her older daughter, and they have a race
to see who can swing the highest.
Younger sister, at three still not walking,
flops on her knees
across the slide platform,
unaware she could fall through the hole in its side.
Finally, her father hollers at her gruffly,
grabs her foot and hauls her back.
The world of addiction means a party
every Friday night,
disintegrating into mayhem before midnight.
Its effects will live on
in the children: both the bright-eyed one,
so painfully aware,
and the dull-eyed one,
who may never fashion speech
or solve an equation
because of the legacy
of all those Friday nights.
But as I watch the mother and daughter
pump their legs, and smile,
swinging back and forth in sweeping arcs,
hair flying loose and blowing in the wind,
my heart is uplifted that,
for these few moments in time,
they are both experiencing
what it is
to feel joy.