We all slept in our mother's living room
On humid nights before she got central
With the window unit set on high,
In sleeping bags, on camp cots and the sofa.
A whisper couldn't carry above that din.
So if you talked it was out loud over a motor
Revving up for frost, throat that never cleared.
Lucky to steep through the night, then come unblessed:
Waking, wanting to stay right there,
Remembering yesterday was hot and tomorrow
Would be too, with nothing crossing off
The summer days but that cold-air box
Whining at your head, blind compact weather,
There to soothe, solid-state. Dad never
Got around to pissing in the vent, but Martin did.
One season Dad kept to his room. Sweet.
Kids play a game, How Would You Rather Die?
I think I'd rather freeze to death before I'd bum.
Before dawn the fan would start ticking
On ice caked in a lattice on the filter.
A head-ache in the kitchen
Sent us back like cool ghosts after breakfast,
But by then the air had mingled warm.
It was a place a mother meant to save
Then it was somewhere a father
Could be put in chains and led away.