Family, 2014

//William miller

My son sleeps in his room;
my ex-wife in hers.
I sleep on the couch.

Twice a year, I fly
up from New Orleans
to see my only boy,
in college now.

His mother and I
are good friends as long
as we talk about
his grades, how much
he’s drinking late
at night.

I cheated on her; in turn
she and her lawyer
pillaged my checkbook
like Vikings.

She’s remarried now
to a guy who works
on the west coast.

He can’t live with her
because he hasn’t
found a job after
five years of resumes
and e-mails.

They post all day, and every
evening skype each other,
blow a loud kiss.

My ex-wife goes to bed
by nine; my son and I
talk for hours: football,
movies and drugs.

He was in rehab twice
before he was twenty,
only drinks now,
three to six vodka
and cokes.

I want to warn him
about my dad, his fatal
drinking, mine
that ended after
two nights in a drunk tank.

But he’s heard those
stories so many
times, they must sound
like dark fairy tales.

He goes to bed, and I
settle into the couch
my ex and I bought when
we were still married.

I pray for this strange
family, held together
by love’s changing shapes:
texts, screens and airplanes.

© 2015   Atlin  ,  "5 AM"

© 2015 Atlin"5 AM"


//William Miller is a widely published poet, children's author, and mystery novelist. He lives in the French Quarter of New Orleans.


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