I look through my shell-shocked memory
day by night by day and cannot say
how I actually spent those years.
Taken and hidden in locked drawers
photos taken and never seen
my oldest children’s early years
bad connections that might have been
and she flies in circles on gnarled nights.
Generations of non-communicators
reading from a play and sitting in corners
from winter in the barn to summer pasture
singing four-part non-confrontational
dirges for marriages not quite right.
I compose letters, essays and questions
to ragtag this nation of children and they
interpret it all like headlighted deer.
I married that woman no excuses
I will not say mother but polite words fail
she would rather have the day in a fist
than let anyone in the house exhale.
I pull the car over in snow on the freeway
not knowing where my girl and boy are today
mine in name only and not even that.