By Charlotte Matthews
Ever since I was a child holidays have hit me hard, the expectation that we take note of one particular day as particularly special in a particularly prescribed way. I'm not sure I can trace this suspicion back to a moment in time, but yesterday, Memorial day, I may have come upon it. Here is the poem I wrote. It's called You are Never The Same Twice:
Right before my parents gave up fighting and called
it quits, they went on a trip to I’m not sure where,
left us with a sitter who talked on the phone.
Right there in the front hallway, she sat in my mother’s
chair periodically switching the black receiver between
ears. I kept on trying to get her attention but it was like
she couldn’t see me, which maybe was true. But I felt like
I’d become invisible—which, at eight, is hard to forget.
The way the Lusitania—which took only 18 minutes to sink—
sticks with you once you know the story. All I can say is
it taught me lessons I could fall back on later in life.
When it was getting close for our parents to return,
my brother and I decorated the basement with red and blue
and yellow paper streamers, balloons, a welcome home banner.
We even got a cake from Giant. My mother came in the door,
looked at this whole party, and walked, in silence, up to her room.