Tea with My Meme

(from Getting Up S'Only Easy for the Sunrise)

We sit around the foldout table as your kitchen
fills with the aroma of Earl Grey and reruns

flicker on the TV, saying you only remember
an episode when certain scenes show up.

Feeling like our time is melting faster than the ice chips
bouncing inside your cup, I start showing off my hand drawn comic

where the story has us save the universe from an evil race of space slugs;
mentioning how I spent all weekend coloring inside the lines

and having dad double check my spelling before writing the words
with Sharpie. Jumping out of my seat to run circles around the table,

yelling about how awesome the suede uniforms look
while you take the Marlboro Reds from your purse,

pop one in your mouth, flick the yellow BIC, and then take a drag.
As I see you exhale, your skin begins to melt:

your glasses slide off as your ears and nose soften into ooze,
splattering the tan linoleum floor; your hands glop toward the table,

pooling as you hunch over; your face, a muck of crevasses;
your bones crack, crumble, then sandstorm out the second floor window.

A smoldering pair of lungs rest on your chair
as the TV continues to flash. Suddenly I remember this episode.

Remembering light breaking through vertical blinds,
numbers radiating from a display beside your golden hair,

your chest bobbing up and down like ice chips,
a tube running out from your throat.

Suddenly dad is there. I shove my face into his red shirt,
soaking my tears before trying to hide under a table.

Suddenly family surrounds me; cousin Tommy holds my hand.
Their mouths move, but there is only silence.

Are you okay, babe? She asks,
sitting outside the Coffee Depot

as I stare at the tealeaves swirling
in my mug, You’ve been really quiet.

She rubs my knee, puffing on her cigarette.
I look up, unable to say

as I notice her make up
beginning to run.