Bryan R. Monte
In Case He Doesn’t Make It

The only time I ever met
a partner’s parents was when
X came home from hospital
the second time, accompanied by
his black-haired Texan father and sisters,
who breezed right past me in the living room,
even though I’d paid the bills while he was gone,
even though he’d had it before we met,
even though he’d lied about it when I’d asked,
as they headed straight down the hallway
with him to his room and closed the door.

His rebel, remarried, redheaded mother
arrived just after they’d left.
She entered with a recalcitrant stare,
walked straight to his room and shut the door.
A few hours later, a honking taxi
betrayed her getaway and I chased her
out the door and down the stairs,
grabbed her coat sleeve and said:
‘I need a name, a telephone number,
and an address, where I can send his body,
in case he doesn’t make it.’