Oh mama liked the roses, she grew them in the yard
Please stop the music. Pulsing kick lightning flashes through my head, please don’t play that song again, Dad. The rocking chair offers no solace, coarse comfort on a dismal Christmasy day. One of those days not quite promising presents, just the intimation of packages, wrapped and hidden. If the music would stop, we could have Christmas.
But winter always came around and made the growing way too hard
I can’t watch him anymore. Can’t stop my face from registering disgust as he loses himself in the slick, sappy lyrics. Slide the chair around, away from the room, away from the old console stereo, away from his crushing grief. Focus on the window, frosted at the edges, arms of snowflakes elongating, patterning across the corners.
I remember crying when she used to sing
My first coffin, the first feel of waxy skin beneath my lips. First awareness of the Mona Lisa smile undertakers mischievously mold way-too-pink lips into. I barely knew you. I didn’t mean for you to leave without your goodbye kiss.
Oh mama liked the roses but most of all she cared
I can hear the scritch behind me, needle not-so-gently dragged back to the beginning. My gut is churning, warning. Needle breaking, record hurled against the wall, I’m hitting him, I hit him, my fists rocks barely felt against the breadth of plaid covering his stomach. The music won’t stop. My anger won’t stop. Why couldn’t I see her? Why did you let fear govern you? You, who never fear anything -- owned by a secret.
You know I kept the family bible with a rose she saved inside
It was pressed between the pages like it had found a place to hide
She was barely coherent. She could have let it slip. Give the baby her bottle, Paul. Except that Paul’s baby was already grown by then. Yes, she might have told me. She might have, and you might have forgiven yourself.
Oh mama liked the roses in such a special way
I pieced it together later, once the secret was out. Why I couldn’t see her before she died. You might have told me then; I could have told her goodbye. You might have let your pride rest. You might have done so many things. And there are so many things you might not have done.
Mama liked the roses
Slump back, body curving against the lumpy cushion, toes curled against the cold from the window. Some day I’ll tell you, another day it will be easier. But now we need to have Christmas. Stop the goddamned music.
doctorpepper, your ghosts are Blackbeard, the Mad Hatter and Superman.