family reunion

home for the christmas holidays,
i snuck to the garage of my parents’ house to get high.
everyone else was in the house on the other side of the door that led
from dad’s green garage to mom’s red kitchen.

i laid my works out on dad’s workbench,
my papers and baggie on a magazine’s glossy cover photo,
some comely wench.

listening to the noises of voices coming muffled from the kitchen,
i tried to roll a cigarette but my fingertips were slick and dry,
the marijuana crumbly.
dad came to the door, opened it, said,
whatcha doin’, little buddy?
are ya makin’ any money yet?
no, no,
i mumbled, wadding my works up in my hand, hiding what i could hide.

dad said, why’ncha come inside?
he was smiling,
we’re all making money in here.
he walked back into the warm-looking kitchen.
i heard mom’s laughter, and brother joey’s confident, even voice saying,
fuck your money, dad,
i want my daughters to learn about pornography.
i think they’re old enough now.

i can help, i called from where i stood,
i have some right here.

one of joey’s daughters, the youngest,
came out to see.
i pulled a glossy magazine from the rack on top of dad’s workbench.

take this and look at it, i said, and gave her the magazine.
practice, practice, practice, i told her.

i watched her walk back into the kitchen.
she’s beginning to get hips.
i still very much wanted to get high,
but dinner was about to be served.

(Copyright 2023 by Tetman Callis.)

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