Why Aren’t You Wearing Anything On Your Feet?

Sleeping in your parents’ old bed
is strange
when they’re not
dead. Although it’d be strange
too if they were.
If they were

not there
but also were.

I remember sleeping
in their bed
as a kid.
This old bed made mine now.
Too many layers
have been added
to remember
the static contour.

But here in their new
house, when
I don’t make it
to their old bed,
I sleep
on their couch.
The couch I remember:
it’s from the old house
when it was in my room.
Or what was my room

before I moved out.
Before they moved out.

Now I search out costs
where the ceiling touches truth.
How much was that lamp?
Those curtain rods look fancy.
Do we have enough beer?

I wake and eat and sleep
in my parents’ new house
and I’ve forgotten the possessive

of who. For whom
do we die?

When you have limes
in your backyard,
you thank student debt
and your inability to process.
You acknowledge the privilege to
say, “I live with my parents,
I have no job, no I don’t
have a car. I’m going to watch Gilmore Girls again.”
Lucky me.
We forget the things

we do not touch
daily. We lose sight of what’s

behind the hill
when it seems only
to continue.

I dream about my parents
dying in a way that makes me
sad to sleep.
What would I do?
When they folded the country
into bad drivers,
they got a new bed,
new rooms, new routines
to work.

They didn’t get new names.
Or new sons.

I watch my mom
like she watches her succulents.
Delicate and necessary
stillness in crisis.
I see my dad’s clothes
hang in a closet
not hung by our
adolescent fingers.
I’ve noticed
he is tired
less often,
still pays
the electric bill
on his own time,
complains of nothing.
They sleep according to

industry. Here it is
the industry.

I watched the glow of the teevee
paint their eyebrows.
Mom with her cough,
her veins, her laugh
sky-splitting like
airplanes aren't full of assholes.
Like the world isn’t a TSA agent
forced to work through their lunch.
She can see
the point in having an indoor
and an outdoor drink.

She can see the angel in-
side of you.

How much for that lamp
on the infomercial?

I have seen two futures’
present. Timelines
laying on each other
on the couch
waiting for the commercials
to come to an end. That is
until they realize
I've recorded this
hour for them.
This isn’t my home,
but these are my people.
Their shows.
Their choice in what is recorded.
I try to show them that
my love for their trust

is larger
than sectional.

Their deaths
in my dreams
means I think
I too will die.
I mean, I know
I too will die.
like everyone will die.

But I often forget
that my brother will die.
That you
will die.

Forgive me
for smoking.
Is it wrong
I’m drinking gin
out of a wine glass?
There are no rules here
You can drink
out of anything.

But please
cover up your feet.

Matt Nelson

Matt Nelson lives in Seattle and has been published in the Brooklyn Rail, Big Lucks, Glitter Mob, Susan, and Fog Machine. He also has a chapbook, An Apology for Apologies (Big Lucks), and an e-book, Please Don't Make Me a Character (Shabby Doll House). He strongly suggests you try out kindness.

Cover image by Sarah Meadows


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