My son claims that he is somebody now that he is marrying into wealth. The bride’s family pays
for my trip to their Napa Valley home, where good fences, manicured and surrounded by snapdragons, are still fences. At rehearsal they serve the opposite of what I ordered for the reception. The salmon skin, burnt and curling, reminds me why I checked the box marked chicken. His mother-to-be hands me a whiskey glass full of frozen paradise apple flowers. She tells me that the petals contain cyanide precursors and can only be consumed in moderation. I compare her to the flower. She does not laugh. My son leads me away from the table, pleading in polished whispers for me to stop darkening his crimson. I take this moment alone to offer him an
early wedding gift. He opens the box and feels the worn fabric. I ask him to try it on. But my son claims that the somebody he is now won’t fit into his father’s old suit.
Sometimes Airbags Forget to Deploy
Sodium vapor streetlamps highlight the cracks
that run like rivers down the windshield of the sedan.
The driver’s cough-drop pockets press
tight against the plasticolor cover
of the steering wheel. Breath bubbles
from leaking lungs
as he tilts his lips to drip apologies
to the drivers in the traffic
he didn’t mean to create.
But it’s not enough.
Horns blare from the unmoved cars behind.