September 23, 2011

Jared Harel

WHEN OUR PARENTS FIGHT—

            for my brothers

Never before had it wronged into silence,
            had the screaming and tears
given way to a stillness, this government

hush even the house could feel.
            Generally, when our parents fought,
they’d tell one another

exactly where it hurt; which anniversary
            forgotten, evenings destroyed.
Like crows, they would peck and peck

at the dead until all we longed for
            was a normal divorce: the luxury of
hating one’s lover from afar.

But they didn’t hate each other
            and so it got worse—
our mother in the kitchen taking scissors

to coupons. Dad at his desktop
            pretending to fly—
both of them quiet now as though they’d run

out of ways to bring the other down.
            This, we knew,
was a new kind of fighting,

and the three of us tightened to endure its blow.

from Rattle #26, Winter 2006