Tenth Avenue Normalby Allison Thorpe
For awhile my father was good.
There were parties, shiny shoes,
a new house on Tenth Avenue,
my own dreaming room,
back yard wide enough
for the ruby sprawl of tomatoes,
green sponge of grass
to ease our summer toes,
bright family pictures
in front of the giddy lilac bush.
It all fell into cosmic alignment,
and even my mother was happy.
But the dark things that chased
my father swallowed him again,
overworking their late nights out,
or sulking behind the Sunday newspaper,
but soon flaming our cheeks with harsh slur
or the unexpected stinging handprint,
oozing into our chary bones
until their shrill pulse became
the ticking of our days.
* * * * *
"Tenth Avenue Normal" originally appeared in Pleiades.
Allison Thorpe is the author of several collections of poetry, the most recent being Reckless Pilgrims (Broadstone Books). Her work has appeared in such journals as So To Speak, Appalachian Heritage, Still: The Journal, Split Rock Review, Roanoke Review, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Muddy River Poetry Review, and Gingerbread House. She'd love to be an international poker player.