“Middle of Night” and “Milk”
Aug 26 ● BY Francine Witte
Middle of night,
too late for candy or games. Scratch of Mommy’s slippers in the hall. We are three days without my father who left to who knows where? Came home from work like a night of storms and slammed his fist on the table. Saying words like “fired” and “bastard.” Angry, like when he told Mommy he never wanted kids, and me, listening at the door. A terrible thing to never want your father back, but I’m thinking of tomorrow morning, breakfast of oranges, bacon curling into smiles, Mommy all to myself, and the cloud of my father in someone else’s sky.
My mother and the milkman, because she is very old, and they used to leave milk in glass bottles in metal boxes and somehow it never went bad. Tuesdays, my mother would lean in the doorway, all sashay and catpurr while my father rattled to work on the 8:15. And my mother and the milkman, later rattling in my brother’s room, and my brother in the Vietnam sun, his shaky grenade hand at the top of his arm. How later, months or even a year went by, before we got the telegram. Mother shaking in the loop of Daddy’s arms. Milk sold now in cartons. In the supermarket. Where anyone could watch.