Poetry Journal

Issues / Volume 5 Issue 1 , July 2015


Sixty Years

Karen Murphy

  After ten years 
  my parents’ marriage 
  broke apart 
  like a kitkat bar, 
  wafer biscuit, 
  leaving behind 
  the crumbs of 
  their old house; 
  lampshades and video cassettes. 
  They twisted in 
  opposite directions 
  like an Oreo cookie, 
  it’s debatable who got 
  the cream—
  my father got us kids. 
  My sister 
  had been with 
  the same man 
  since I was born, 
  they broke apart when 
  I was 24, 
  she slid off him 
  the way arms drop off people 
  in scary movies; 
  with a short delay 
  and then all at once, 
  cut cleanly off. 
  Then there’s that 
  one couple 
  that keep 
  piecing themselves 
  back together 
  like a mosaic portrait; 
  each broken saucer, 
  chipped royal Doulton 
  tea cup, 
  they took turns 
  gluing the pieces on 
  with white cement; 
  dropped vase 
  from a child’s 
  sticky fingers, 
  broken dinner plates—
  low pay check week, 
  each asset broken 
  and divided, 
  shared between them 
  like handfuls of chips, 
  there are people 
  that have tried to 
  those pieces up, 
  leaving little craters 
  behind like
  bullet holes 
  to show where they’ve been hit; 
  that’s the kind of marriage I want; 
  I don’t want to look back 
  in sixty years at a perfect print, 
  I want to see the messy 
  brush strokes 
  chipped paint 
  and peeling canvas, 
  I want to know 
  I lived.