The Time Machine Paradox
my father was a crooked staircase,
always headed up or down,
but never getting anywhere.
if his smile could talk
it would hammer out one sorry tune after another,
on the broken piano keys that replaced his teeth.
he grew up gay and pretty in South Dakota
and one day ran off to join the ministry,
the kind of great blue repression this country was built on.
if i had a time machine, i would not try to stop him.
i would not feed him whiskey and punch some sense into his gut.
i would find, instead, his mother,
that sour fucking bitch with triggers for hands.
i want to find her when she’s 16 and not yet certain.
i want to slip her a joint and a flask of jet fuel.
i want to give her black stockings and rust red lipstick.
i want to loose her curls and numb her better judgment.
i want to say, Audrey, and show her how it could sound.
maybe, if she could have lived her life, just for a night,
i wouldn’t be here. my father wouldn’t suffer.
none of us would feel this way. instead i would be
just a possibility, a ghost, gathered with the other ghosts
at the Armageddon lemonade stand.
i’d be the one that remembered the sugar.