Donna Dallas

My Kids Wanna Know Why I Have a Metal Pipe Next to my Bed 

I like shiny things 
I love the cold smooth surface
of this three-foot pewter toned
steel goliath
people have different things next to their bed
like a book
crucifix 
perhaps a vibrator 

Me, a pipe
I don’t wanna bust their bubbles
as we safely sit 
under this cathedral ceiling
in our five thousand square foot space
lined with trees 
and pruned bushes
when the doors or windows open
our alarm announces
front door open
patio door ajar……technology is wondrous these days 

But the pipe…..
goes back to 
growing up in Queens
the back of our home adjacent
to the schoolyard
the crackies finding
their way into our basement
to steal tools
or shimmy into the kitchen door
the many strange men
our mother tried to rescue 
reform
salvage
who wandered around
with a menace in their eyes
that kept us awake for years

When shit went south
as it always did 
just never knew
what you would wake up to
Mom in a pool of vomit
piss on the floor
two or three “friends”
seated at the table
sprinkling lines 
Jack and coke 
a cig burning the formica
someone sitting in the torn up
brown chair
staring into space
sweats
low mumbles
night tremors
or when someone 
threatening
would blow out a windowpane

Many times 
when 911
took too long 
we had no choice 
either swing or die

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