Laying in Bed at the Hampton Inn with my Pregnant Wife, the Night Before my Daughter was Born

Outside it’s North Dakota

And November feels like November, but on the moon.

We are in bed. Reading the paper Like any couple

In an Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode

Right before the plot twists

I pass you the funny section, which is the only section

I wanted in the first place. So now I’ve got this paper

A cumbersome dated thing, taking up all the best parts of the bed

And on the front page the results

of the election.

Every Marriage is a Home


I’m doing it again, with the metaphors and the

Forced emotional perspective

You say that metaphors are a crutch

I say they are a walking stick that get me closer to you

You say I just don’t want to be alone

I say when I am with you there a reason for me to

Make a bigger pot of coffee, invite over new people, and cry over all sorts of new things

Your hand fits differently into my hand than it used to

Things change

Your voice trembles in the light and the dark and

Who knows when else

If you ever believed in this country you don’t anymore

If you ever believed in anything

The kids in the classroom all say the pledge of allegiance every morning

They say it is disrespectful not to

Who taught them that?

Not me, they just do it

It seems sophomoric

To make a pledge you never intend on keeping

The last time you said I do I thought we might have been writing our own little declaration of independence

We hold these truth’s to be self evident

I love you, you love me

Fuck the rest

And I think our love is a whole nation unto itself, full of complicated histories

Massacres and Tea Parties and all that

If our love was a country it would be the best country in the world and It would have a permanent seat on the UN security council

A saber rattling country with a strong figure head and a reputation for unrest

Military fatigues and Sanctions and Op Eds in the New York Times

But we aren’t a country, really

It’s just that every morning you look too beautiful to touch

And your breath bleats the pillow in little wisps

And you look just like Destiny Manifest

And you look just like something I might want to pledge allegiance to

But here I am, backing into another metaphor

And there you are Waking up

My Grandfather Always Wanted to be Postmaster General

The fall my Grandfather, slick with perspiration

Adjusting to the limp he brought back from Bastogne,

decided he wanted to be postmaster general,

School Children in Revere sang the American song book

A song book that never included the Catholics or the

Irish, or the Butcher up the street in Somerville

Who got turned to Hamburger meat by artillery fire.

His wife, who was not a French nurse, and just sort of

Exhaled her cigarette smoke normally

Couldn’t shut up about peonies.

And the Boston Post Office had a fresh coat of paint

And the birds a new lease on life.

And the sun and the sound both felt very different

On the cobblestone in Paris, with two working legs

It was the fall he decided what he really wanted

Was to make sure everyone got what was coming to them

John McDonough
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