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In Your Mother's House
Your Father’s things are in the basement
Because Your mother needs room
For her beige and boxy computers.
Her quiet typing and stern phone calls
Are the noise in the background
Where music and conversation should be.
I tiptoe in her house so I don’t disturb her
And of course my shoes are off
So I don’t leave any evidence of my presence
On her tidy white carpets.
I shouldn’t be here.
It smells like dust and plastic and printer ink
And it’s disgusting, but you’re nice,
So I put up with it.
I put up with your mother’s questions, too,
About my parents and what they do,
Whether or not I go to church,
My classes and how useful they may
Or may not be to my future career,
Soccer, which I don’t play.
How Jenny plays soccer
And what a nice girl she is,
And how she’s going to a good college next year
And all about her parents- the doctors.
“You should spend more time with Jenny, Nicholas.”
And it’s a little too warm in this house
And I’m sweaty and keeping my voice down
And I want to go home
And you don’t say a word in my defense
Because that would just make it worse.
But you’re nice, so I suffer through it.
I call a day in advance if I want to see you,
And I leave by 7 P.M.
And I only call on weekends
And I always ring the doorbell
And call your folks “Mr.” and “Mrs.”,
And I’m polite even though I can tell
That they hate me
And my noise
And my dirt
And my obscene language
And my laughter.
And I can tell you’re embarrassed
But also of me.
So I leave.