Aubade for an Alcoholic’s Son


straight, gridded teeth / bit down, / asked me to promise I’ll never / go back to sleep

Poetry by Megan DeMatteo

after Ocean Vuong

In the still of the night, I held you
            rocking at the top of the stairs, knees pulled
                        into yourself like a knot, saying
                                    what do we do?
                                                what do we do?

 and the horizontal lines of your forehead,
  straight, gridded teeth
            bit down,
                asked me to promise I’ll never
                        go back to sleep

until the sounds of anger went to bed.

I remember
that night in May.
The stars were bright above.
            I caught them in my moon book, pages inked with blue
                        half moons, full moons, circles smudged
                                    and torn, laying by the fishbowl.

Well before the light
            the crashes stopped,

the pans, broken
chair smashed,
            a crumpled rose on linoleum.

Megan is a Baltimore-based creative writer, journalist, and editor. Her poems have appeared in Palette Poetry and sPARKLE & bLINK, and her work was a finalist in the 2018 Public Poetry Contest, judged by Sasha West, Cyrus Cassells, Raina León, and the late Tony Hoagland. She has a BA in Spanish from the University of Tennessee and an MA in creative writing from Lenoir-Rhyne University, Asheville. After traveling and teaching children throughout the US, she now ponders phonemes and sprinkles her food with Old Bay. Connect with Megan on Twitter @megdematteo and on Instagram @megdematteo.

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