My parents were lonely geniuses.
Their letters to each other—heartbreaking.
I found them in a plastic bag in a closet,
my twentieth year, when my mom was in jail,
and I was trying to sort out the life they’d given
my siblings and me. You were the
I’d ever met they’d each written to the other.
But they couldn’t function like other parents.
It was all yelling and name-calling
and eventually knives and guns. And I grew up,
wondering where smart would get you.
But it always seemed better than the alternative—
my friends, whose parents had plenty of love
but no books, no imagination, a limited vocabulary
with which to rip out the heart of the beloved.
This was written for April's National Poetry Month “Poem-A-Day
Challenge.” Shaindel Beers' most
recent book is “A Brief History of Time.” She lives in eastern