So many tangled feet from home among toads
No bigger than junebugs hopping at mosquitoes
Dizzily we could keep our head while all
About us the wobbly sprinklers were losing theirs
To the night over lawns like upside-down chandeliers
Along the sidewalk to make it glassy-eyed
To the steps not stopping soaked on the front porch
With the right key in our hand held wrong side up
The first try under the gasp of the screendoor stopper
As soft as the click of the nightlatch being good
At keeping strictly quiet the bad young man
Amounting to nothing risking hell tiptoeing
Sockfoot along our hallway breathless with beer
To squeak the floor in time with our father’s snoring
But caught in the act between dull saws out of step
By our mother’s forgiving unforgetful ears
In the darkness arms outstretched for the sneaky brother
Who lived inside our head not saying prayers
Not thinking purely of girls who believed in virgins
Tomcatting out to lead us gladly astray
To show us the way to go home to let us down
On our bed who didn’t brush our teeth not washing
The lipstick off our face who couldn’t find
Our pajamas with all four hands who lay there staring
Like a mind’s eye groggily dimly at the ceiling
As we turned to fall disgraced into the morning.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 2 Number 10, on page 50
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