Remember the werewolf double feature
at the old porno theater on upper Broadway?
The seats had no room for our knees;
sticky paint covered gum barnacles.
We howled at the full moon slipping free
of bruised clouds, then the actors’ faces growing
into wolf snouts with sounds like breaking furniture.
Their blue eyes kaleidoscoped into green.
They peed on hedges and hunted subway tunnels,
leaving shredded raincoats, a beggar’s cup, teeth marks
on the turnstiles. By the office cooler the next morning,
they laughed at blood stains on their tasseled loafers.
In the end they died from silver bullets
to the heart. Filing out, we discovered snow swirling
like torn pillow feathers. A cab tried to splash us with slush
and missed. We celebrated our new lives
in Manhattan by howling at the “Don’t Walk” light
and walking. Within a year you moved home,
joined our father’s timid life. You burned
pork chops, overboiled beans, made bowls of popcorn
that lasted into Letterman. You slept in fire engine sheets
in your boyhood bed, let the clock radio whisper
soft rock all night, as if you didn’t trust
silent dreams. Your degrees
didn’t matter. You worked the Christmas season
at the Post Office, rang bells for the Census, added blank years
to your resume. Maybe you were happy. I suffered
the hunger of wolves in Manhattan.
By Will Nixon
(Published in My Late Mother as a Ruffed Grouse. Click here for the spoken word version.)
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The Mother Grouse Blog is produced by Will Nixon, author of My Late Mother as a Ruffed Grouse and Love in the City of Grudges.