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After Tempers Rise

There’s comfort in cottage cheese,

the seven o clock news,

in washing soiled clothes


Every now and then, pipes burst

blood spills out, soaks

floor, furniture, seeps into cracks,

places where lumps of dirtiness are lodged


We can’t help it.  Yes, we’re adults,

experienced in therapy and self-help books,

we’ve passed all the exams in patience,

tolerance, understanding, compassion


And still it’s back again

blood freezes, pipes burst,

we break off icicles, wound each other

like spears, stilettos, scalpels,

watch, half fascinated, horrified


How our parents are beating us again

berating us, belittling, mocking, superior,

insulting.  We know it’s our parents

because we’ve read the best books,

been to family therapists


Still despite all, the pipes burst again

we watch our carpets soak and sag,

lumps of dirt floating around, we can’t

help it, suddenly pipes burst

from carrying their load


Dismayed, we mop the mess as best

we can, as blood subsides,

take comfort in small things like

talking about cottage cheese, the news


Collect and wash our soiled clothes

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© Johnmichael Simon



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