Kayewood Family Holiday Portrait

“New Year,” I say to Dad,
the ugly, prickly orange couch all poky on the underside
of my thighs. I can’t include “happy”
this year since, as of this morning,
she’s not here.

I scratch this stupid couch back,
the one we both hated and pleaded Dad to burn.

It was his father’s, and only in the family
because Jackie O. sat on it once
before she was “a Democrat’s wife.”
Imagine Mrs. Kennedy, snuggled up
to Granddad’s roommate. A boom
outdoors, and I see hazy me,
leaning on Momma’s shins, watching Gilmore Girls.

This couch was ours. French braids and the talk. It was here,
where Jackie sat, she told me about the day JFK was shot.
She drove me to see the two X’s
stamped into the road. Passing over, we argued
about how to get out of the city. Shots fire
here now too. I’m not hazy anymore;
I’m ten years older but so much smaller.
I don’t have a husband whose brain Dallas saw, but I know
how it feels to hold those remains in my arms.

Fireworks hit me in the chest,
take up residence in my pulmonary veins.
I can’t hear her sing anymore.
The popping deafens me—
her voice is gone forever.

 

Jennifer Morgan was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, where she learned how to dance badly and make enchiladas. Now she lives in Brookline where she continues to trip frequently and cook stuff.