She Doesn't Know, Sometimes, That He's Not Just Out For A While

By Will Scarfone

There are no vacuum cleaner bruises, now,

just the eternity that was underneath.

And some of those nights, practicing divisions, yes,

I felt it even then. Father, this is something near

the second time. Remember the open top

of the convertible, the soaking outside of the school,

the affection of topdown, and almond,

which let us share the room that night

when I told you of the vertigo in Italy, the cringing into silence.

I feel as if I knew that I was somewhere related

to the understanding of the few amidst my basement-panic

in the shapes that they formed. I feel as if I should’ve known

what they were doing to you then; how those

with whom we sit, with whom we’ve always gathered

forced you to remember their dresser drawer stories

of conditional secession, the impossible. I considered,

yesterday, the indictments, and then that

which you’ve never thought to touch.

Your father’s house had been full for days, his bedroom

exuding his delirium: the purple flowers, the black car paranoia,

some lifting of repression. There was talk afterwards,

between the siblings deemed capable: the only true acknowledgement

of whispers, whispered. Your mother spoke to us, much later,

of a party, dancing, she asked us to come back someday;

there’s no longer, for her, a distinction

between the different forms of leaving. Somehow, the plea

for deliverance never seems to change.