Nothing is good enough for his family

Hard working father, scraping by,

stares at the photo he keeps in his box

Soon as it hits 5, he’s off the clock

He’s got some news today, he’s got something to share, something to say

 

After all, nothing is good enough for his family

 

A bonus, a late tax return check, any overtime he could get

A dying company, a few pay cuts, a few fewer friends at work

It hasn’t been easy and the hard days are only getting harder

But they are strong. Resilient.

And despite the long drive and drooping eyes, he kisses his wife

who prepares for her night shift at 9, but always pick up their son at 3

She finished cooking, he sets the table without being asked

He could hardly wish for a more picturesque

family

 

Today is a special sort of day with a little extra cash

between pennies coated in grime and cigarette ash

He grins, and though they don’t take vacations and hardly eat out

They scrounge enough for a smart phone

 

Because nothing is good enough for his son

 

Excitement fills his heart, and guilt quickly follows suit

But he is young and insecure and wants to fit in and knows he is good

So the family gladly gather their things and race out the door

Taking the bus to the local store because gas is best reserved for work,

leaving their modest meal out

 

Goldilocks stumbles down the street, her eyes full of defeat

She’s hit the bottle again, led by pretty boys who extend their hand

To guide her to dance and drink the gin juice  

Because someone like her, because of that hot dress she wore

She’s had too much, too soon - drink, boys, and grown men

Because for the 10th week in a row, she was kicked out the door

Bartender took her keys, patrons’ eyes judge her - what a whore

 

So she stumbles home, grasping at bricks and poles as if they were hands to hold

Grips onto a rail that will lead her to the train so she can finally rest her rattled brain

 

What does she find,

she hits a heavy door.

That’s not the subway

Man, what else did she take?

Is she home already?

The door seems smaller, dirtier, ugly.

But why else would she here, it must be right

So she lets herself in, the hallway doesn’t match,

But she’s too far gone to catch such a small detail

 

She smells food, self-preservation first

The acid burns, her stomach churns,

Her body is betraying her again, she needs to eat

She trips over herself and takes a bite - disgusting.

Porridge.

She blurts out slurred curse words for no one to hear

The blacks of her vision ascend and recede like tides of consciousness

She clumsily checks each bowl for something to save her, but it’s all the same

Her skin tingles and her muscles tire, she stumbles from the nausea,

Knocking over the garage sale folding chair that falls beside

his patched up, indoor lawn chair and her curbside wooden stool

She makes her way to what she prays is a soft bed to lay

She only sees mattresses on the floor

She scowls, but her body is spent,

she collapses onto lumpy relief as the tendrils of intoxication rock her to sleep

 

They come home, ecstatic, blissful, naive

Door wide open - they forgot to lock

Stupid, stupid, stupid!

She holds her son back, a safe distance away,

Unsure of the dangers inside, they wait

He cautiously walks in, using his memory to guide him through the dark

The one bed-room apartment smells like rubbing alcohol

Chairs turned over, broken mismatched plates, spilled plastic cups, food all over the place -

No dinner for the night

He ventures into the bedroom, there,

some of the color leaves his face.

He sees her goldy locks covered in bile.

 

What now? Is she okay? Why is she here? I don’t know CPR.

Does she need an ambulance? Do I call 911? How do I explain this? I’m scared.

What do I tell my family? Do I ask them to wait in the car? Around the block where it’s safe.

Am I going to die tonight?

 

This poem is about: 
My country
Our world

Comments

Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741