The Punks are Curing Asparagus
“It’s GORGEOUS out today. I’m stuck in the kitchen, you should be over at Lloyd for fresh tomatillo gazpacho and grilled toasts with beets, fennel, cured asparagus and basil ricotta.” — My brother’s Facebook status
I’m not sure what it means.
It reminds one
of medicine and ham.
It resists the scentless piss
in an emptied bottle of Canadian Mist.
Like a papering history:
this is not something you would ever do
now. Sweat, fear, rent checks.
Two insects molting in the soap dish
we use as an ashtray.
But there is still the ska band
like some small monument against
the attrition of growing-up and
of being name executive chef
of a whiskey bar in Philadelphia.
This is an unfair way to look at you.
I know you smoke American Spirit cigarettes,
the yellow pack. Unless that too has changed.
I know you return text messages
more readily these days. We have no way of knowing
if the girlfriend is still in the picture
save for direct lines of questioning.
You very well may be brave enough for that,
but I’m not, mom’s not, dad’s not.
We discuss you over the phone.
I cannot make it to the Kentucky Derby party
your whiskey bar is throwing. I’m in meetings all day.
I make like I’m upset that I will miss the mint juleps.
This is a ruse; you assure me the bartender would
gladly make one when I get the chance to visit.
You have that kind of authority now.
One summer, you ran away from home.
Sort of. You had moved out by that point.
You stopped taking our phone calls.
That punk from the record store threatened
to break someone’s bones. I don’t know what good
that would have done. It was comforting.
Your best friend was joining the marines.
You did not come to his going-away party.
He sobbed drunkenly on the doorstep of our parents’ home.
You resurfaced unexpectedly one morning,
a lazarus taxon.
I cannot remember the specifics.
But I know that Gram and Pop were there.
They brought donuts, or they took us to a buffet.
The difficulty is in watching you grow up
and growing up with you.
The laws of primogeniture state,
among other things, that you were
supposed to waterwalk in front of me,
like Christ across an ocean
to his men and to his cross.
But here we are together
wandering pointedly into the hellmouth.
You go brandishing an electronic cigarette
and a broken lease in Fishtown. I bought a cat,
I have a car loan in my name.