A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.
by Melissa Gullo
A Publix parking lot may not be the best place
to ask your teenage daughter about her plans
for the future. Or maybe it would be if you hadn’t
just picked her up from the doctor to find out
she’s vaguely psychotic. A theory you’ve already
met beside your defeated husband; tossing it around
below the groundlessness of sleep as you tossed in bed
& wept at your decision to teach her to speak.
Maybe she’s just innately bohemic or counter-
conformist. Fatally Idealistic, sure, & spectacularly
defiant. Clearly these are recessive genes
triggered by your open love for the Rolling Stones
& a SoCo Manhattan; that innocent afternoon
when you let her pretend she was a cat, lapping Kix
from a bowl on the floor. You can’t take her
seriously after you’ve seen her wet her hand
with her tongue & wipe the bangs off her forehead.
You should’ve shoved her off that wall the first time
she tried to walk it, her little girl fists fat with rhymes
& a stubborn ambition to remain incurably senseless.
If only to make her life easier…for you. Now it’s a lifetime
of avoiding responsibility & closets full of entitlement,
no hope for allegiance. You’re trying to fill her heady,
sanguine silence with a benign topic as you wait
for a shaded parking spot.
Rewinding, thinking maybe
you should never have asked her what she planned
to do with her future, just told her what you had in store:
stocked her shelves yourselves with conservative career
goals & a pressurized compliance to fit the uniform.
Instead you tossed the penny in the air: Presumed
innocence has always been a prerequisite for misconduct.
Mom, I wanna be a Hari Krishna
so I can shave my head & hand
flowers & Bodhivatgittas to people
in subway stations & airport partitions.
I want Bhajans, brethren, ritualistic
revelries made of jingle bell bracelets.
I want to chant in tight-knit circles,
kick my heels up for Vishnu.
I just want a mantra, Mother,
something smooth & omnipresent,
to regurgitate when the fear
gets full & I yearn to alienate.
I wanna wear orange like it’s a sun
exchange. Expand, engage, outlast
the ages! Spend eternity returning
to different bodies…
She sighed when I told her
my plans sound like poetry.
“Only in your head,”
was all that she said.