September 6, 2013 by The Citron Review
My father drank until he could no more,
drank in the Bowery, slept on the cobblestone
streets after work, he drank in bars, he drank in his car,
anywhere, he drank anytime, he told me life was sweet,
he drank until our house was gone, all the song in it gone,
until the bank owned it and not us, you know how
that works, the big addiction, the big kahuna of it all,
until the family almost died in a car crash in Paramus,
a head-on collision on the way home from a birthday party.
I was seven years old and crushed in the front
seat, who knew we could go so far and still live,
survive the cascade of words, accusations,
recoveries, living in motels and apartments complexes,
talk of AA meetings, of enablers, of disablers,
stories about Prague and the farm in New Jersey,
good stories about a past that was okay or so it seemed,
isn’t it always the way, myth taking center stage
before everything else, as if it really can, he said
he picked strawberries for 5 cents an hour in the
meadowland marshes, I remember they tasted like heaven
is what he told me.
Charlene Langfur is an organic gardener, a southern Californian, a college teacher. Her publications include writing in The Adirondack Review, Literal Latte, Poetry East, most recently in The Stone Canoe, Ninepatch, The Sydney Hampden Poetry Review, Pinyon, Stones Voices and Assisi. A Syracuse University Graduate Writing Fellow, her writing also includes two e-books.