By Rodd Whelpley
Thankfully, this was years ago
our family in a receiving line
at a restaurant on Harrison or Wabash,
my wife first, me, and our son –
maybe 10 – shaking hands
with our first set of grooms,
thanking them for including our kid
on the invitation, apologizing
for making this political, but he needs
to see this.
We all need to see this.
Then, me at once hugging both the husbands,
the three of us gazing over shoulders, wondering
at how hard it is to steal home, to have
a Jackie Robinson of marriages, hoping
one day, we can criticize the shitty tuxes,
the way too many bridesmaids, take odds
on just how long these kids will last, be catty,
drunk, and hell-bound joyous at these things –
just the way we used to.
Although Zero Structures in Our Hometown are Listed as Historic Places
There lived the deities, the populace of childhood:
Coach. Teacher. The Senior quarterback
we didn’t know would never make
Ohio State. Bobby Burton’s guide dog
plucking dimes and nickels
from the floor of his master’s bookshop.
And the household gods Grandma. And the babysitter, Mrs. Druppel,
who blushed, when, we, tired before our naps,
called her grandma too –
Who we thought of as our unwitting saviors those nights
when mom’s, then dad’s, voices,
whet as kitchen steak knives,
much too loudly echoed words distorted
through the old-house heat vents
Twins alone in separate rooms, wondering
what we did to make things
go so wrong.
– inspired by Lannie Stabile’s poem “Callisto”
Rodd Whelpley manages an electric efficiency program for 32 cities across Illinois and lives near Springfield. His poems have appeared in numerous journals. His chapbooks include Catch as Kitsch Can (2018), The Last Bridge is Home (2021) and Whoever Said Love (coming in 2022). Find him at www.RoddWhelpley.com.