We’ll Always Have Parents

By MARY JO SALTER

 

It isn’t what he said in Casablanca

and it isn’t strictly true. Nonetheless

we’ll always have them, much as we have Paris. 

They’re in our baggage, or perhaps are baggage

of the old-fashioned type, before the wheels,

which we remember when we pack for Paris.

Or don’t remember. Paris doesn’t know

if you’re thinking of it. Neither do your parents,

although they’ll say you ought to visit more,

as if they were as interesting as Paris.

Both Paris and your parents are as dead

and as alive as what’s inside your head.

Meanwhile, those lovers, younger every year

(because with every rerun we get older),

persuade us less, for all their cigarettes

and shining unshed tears about the joy

of Paris blurring in their rear view mirror,

that they’ve surpassed us in sophistication.

Granted, they were born before our parents

but don’t they seem by now, Bogart and Bergman,

like our own children? Think how we could help!

We could ban their late nights, keep them home

the whole time, and prevent their ill-starred romance!

Here’s looking at us, Kid. You’ll thank your parents.

 

[Purchase Issue 13 here]

Mary Jo Salter’s eighth book of poems, The Surveyors, will be published by Knopf in 2017. She is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and lives in Baltimore.

Julia PikeWe’ll Always Have Parents

Related Posts

Budapest

The Hat

SCOTT LAUGHLIN
At this moment, it is night in Budapest, and a woman has left her hat in a restaurant. This restaurant is in Buda, yet she is already crossing the bridge into Pest. Yes—perhaps you didn't know—Budapest is not one place but two places split by a river. Like the woman separated from her hat. Perhaps we are all schizophrenics.

Buddha

Because of Global Warming

LUISA A. IGLORIA
The Ladies of the Monday Afternoon Club / have started a clothing drive for the Buddha, / who continues his travels abroad in a world with more / and more unpredictable weather, garbed in the same outfit. / he has worn for who knows how many centuries now:

BBF logo

Visit TC at the Brooklyn Book Festival!

Love reading The Common and want to see our staff’s smiling faces in person? Stop by our table at the Brooklyn Book Festival this Sunday, September 17 from 10am-6pm at Table 347 in front of the courthouse. We’ll be giving away a special, tasty something while supplies last! For more information about the Festival marketplace and