Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

To Prove That We Existed before You Were Born

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

To Prove That We Existed before You Were Born

Article excerpt

we'll tell you how your mom worked at the hospital,

"treating" people like the tattered, gray-faced man

who shoves his shopping cart down Verdugo,

muttering to the Tsar. How, between bouts

at my desk, I'd bumble barefoot through the house,

feeding our fish, or patting Marvin, the cat.

Mom will tell how, at her first job, age 16,

she found a dead mouse in Baskin-Robbins' hot fudge,

called the manager at home, and when he didn't

believe her, dropped the chocolate-covered Mickey

on his big desk-blotter, and never returned.

I'll tell about playing The Catacombs, and resurrect

my sunburst Stratocaster from its coffin-case.

I may tell how I clubbed a Bandido with a mike-stand

when he rushed the stage, and how I'd pull away

from girls in Portland, Billings, Coeur d'Alene,

my red pickup sagging with band gear, and barely see

the road for tears until, in a few miles, the clouds lifted,

a surge of freedom picked me up, and surfing

on its crest, I'd start to sing. You'll hear the way

you heard 'Jack the Giant-Killer" and "Snow White,"

as if our lives were fairy tales from long ago. …

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