“You don’t like me. I want you to like me.”
Was that charming? Half an answer came
And it was, “No, I don’t think…”
Then, “about you at all” had to become
“I really know you.”
And so another guest, who seemed to be her husband, said
“And when you do…ha ha!”
After that, the woman filtered off
Among the daylight crowd, the ceremony
Someone’s mother, renewing vows
They were proposing the adult children
would stand and give appreciations, and the balding son beginning
Said, “I have a great Dad. That time Georalyn was in
addiction counselling, and she asked me if I would adopt
J. J. if she killed herself, Dad quit his teaching job
and moved back here. He took off two years, borrowed on
his retirement, so J. J. could have him at home.
“But,” he said, while she sat disbelieving,
“Ronnie’s a terrific guy.”
Which ones are all these characters? Is the woman
with the liquid liner, little beads of mascara clumping
her lashtips, Georalyn the addict? What will I say to her?
Which kid is J. J.? Georalyn seems cheerful, a little swagger
in her walk, arms flung out to embrace Ronnie
And there the son stands, next to the other
presumed biological Dad.
But the woman isn’t Georalyn. She tells them she’s Jen.
“Is that Cheryl? Are you Billy’s office friend?”
(2021, Stephanie Foster)