Joseph Farley

family life

in the future
if you want
a family,
but cannot
afford one,
you will be able
to rent one
by the hour.

there will be
“Mom” and Junior
and Babs
the teenage daughter
and even gramps
in the attic
gummy without
his teeth.

you will sit down
to dinner with them,
ask your “wife’
about her day,
ask the kids
how school was.

you will listen
to everything
that is said
and dispense
fatherly advice
puffing on a pipe.

after you have
cleared the table
and done the dishes
an argument
will occur.

Junior or Babs
or both
will make a scene
over some small
and you will seek
to impose order.

your efforts
at authority
will be met
with sass
and disrespect.

you will put
one or both
of the children
in turn
over your knee
and give them
perhaps lingering
over long
on one of
their asses,
drawing shouts
from “mom”
and colds stares
from gramps,
but you will
pull back,
restrain your
base instincts
so as not
to violate
the terms
of your contract,
and save
the whippings
for the bedroom
as you spend
the night
as man and wife,
rings upon fingers,
with this rented
only too happy
to oblige
your wildest whim
so long as you
stick around
in the morning
and make some
to the house.

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