I watched your gracefully long,
inflated fingers stretch out
to dial a digital code
on your silvery, slatted intercom,
requesting, no, demanding, that Joel
hustle his way through the humble halls
to your dominion
from the flaccid factory at the opposite end
of the bulky building
that you now so proudly owned,
to proffer credit for the generous growth
to anyone but yourself.
Sitting on the seventies colorific plaid sofa
in the expanse of your stately second floor office
I watched you shuffle papers, take a long
drag of your slim menthol cigarette and
call across the hall to a father unlike your own.
Her father. That unfit, unworthy, plain Jane wife of yours.
But he wasn’t really hers, because they were all
hustling for you, weren’t they?
I heard my Papa call over to you
in his kind, quiet way,
to ask you to go easy
on the poor sucker
journeying to your jurisdiction,
which made your sky blue eyes crinkle
with obvious revulsion
at the thought of going easy
on one of the many indolent soldiers
doing your bidding
in the catacombs
of the facility, the likes of which
you rarely, if ever,
set that size 16 foot of yours.
Immediately changing face, I watched as
an enormous mustache-framed smile unfolded
over your classically Russian,
hand-carved vanilla face,
like an animated Asian fan
in a Geisha’s dexterous dance.
You looked at me in boyish anticipation as you asked me,
“Where shall we go for lunch today?”
When Joel entered the vaulted, double doorway, he made no sound
as he tread on the luxurious gold-threaded carpet that had been laid
merely one week before, at the disgust of your father-in-law.
As he entered, Joel’s hunched-back frame curved due left
and anxiety clearly riddled his fearful face.
He began to whimper aloud, like a bleating animal
in line to be slaughtered, as your booming base bravado
shook the white walls
and made, even me, wince in astonishment.
It was the first time that I saw your potent power,
the likes of which I dared not ever ask to be
directed toward me, the eldest of your clan
and the most subservient of us all.
I learned early on that Daddy knows everything
important to know, that Daddy rules
the rectilinear roost, that Daddy should not
be questioned, even if my childish certainty
told me otherwise.
You needed me to believe in you.
It was your right to be followed
as a censured book of law
in the judicial system of life.
Once Joel’s injured suit of armor thumped its way
out the detached double door,
your face lightened five shades of pale
and delight beamed through your bright eyes
like a small child tasting the salty sweetness
of your very first kaleidoscopic-colored candy.
It was time for me to name
the extravagant restaurant of my choice.
It was once again you and I
against the unworthy, wretched world.
My know-it-all, darling Dad and your gifted little angel,
the extension of yourself in all the best ways,
granted I kept my mouth from moving and
my words to a pleasant, flattering tone,
like the finely spun fibers of your
newly acquired, gilded carpet.
Where shall we go, my foolish father?
Direct me, for my innocent eyes are
yet short-sighted to an intelligence such as yours.
Help me get up from your stately sofa
and build me a faulty foundation on which to stand
my worthless and wanting self
so that I may be worthy of the
peripheral love that so far has eluded me.