Party of the first part—

She is bitter.
She perceives the benefits wrought
from competence, as luck— in others.

A buffet of dysfunction
kept warm by a heat lamp
of anxiety.

I vaguely remember her childhood.
Something gooey
and some Tinker Toys.

The memories feel
both heavy and light
in my pocket.

I tried to experience her anger
as a transitional phase
of her development.

But she made it hard.
Going instinctively and
straight to the softest meat.

Selfishness and
survival are often
the same thing.

We thought her tantrums
were only mascara
and puffery.


Party of the second part—

I am looking for that string in my gullet.
Fishing with wet fingers to gain purchase
sufficient to pull up new resolve into the air.

I have lost the dichotomy needed.
Blame and responsibility are
eroded by the friction of use.

A spectacular failure has its grace.
An end is defined and closed.
This seesaw of recovery is exhausting.

The entropy of family.
The mingling of guilt and intent.
I want to activate the mechanism of flight.

I can hear my history.
I see those ghosts who once exhaled steps
along these same pitted hallways.

It would be too precious to rest this all
on ancient shoulders. The load
must be present for ownership.

Still, I feel weighed down by
the fossils that I carry.
My life is painted by rust.

We are all similar enough.
The wrists of each generation
pass through the same stained sleeves.

Still, I have ambition for her recovery.
I listen for the scratch of her shovel in the dirt.
She must snatch back her own choices from our Elysian Fields.

I remember, they are not mine.
I must untangle.
I am ignoring my dusting.

Rick Christiansen has been stand-up comic, actor, director of the improvisational comedy group, The Underground and a corporate executive. He has two poems forthcoming in Dumpster Fire Press. Rick lives in Missouri near his eight grandchildren and with his basset hound Annie.