Winter 2010

 

POEM

 

 

​Arrivederci!, Plastic-Covered Couch

 

 

by Frank Giorno

 

 

The furniture in my mother’s living room

Came in threes

The "Arm Chair, the Love Seat and the Holy Couch"

We couldn't sit on them –

They were for show.

 

It was on a hot, humid July day

When my parents toiled

In factories baking like meat in the oven,

That I, in youthful summer heat,

Felt the pleasure of her naked skin

As our bodies entwined got stuck to the "Holy Couch"

And its sacred plastic wrap,

As we headed to our first coming,

With a quiver and a crack that sounded like thunder –

She thought it was love, but I knew it was a rupture

That would unravel Mom’s enjoyment of the rapture.

 

She was stuck on me, I was stuck on her

And together we were stuck on

My mother’s plastic-covered couch

Long enough for mom to arrive at our second coming

The earthly kind – not the heavenly one

She was waiting for.

 

When Mom died she left behind

The tattered plastic-covered couch,

Which dad now slept on, as if it was

His salvation, until he too was taken

And buried in that fourth level

Of the mausoleum crypt in Prospect Cemetery

Closer to heaven, which was

In the sky and further from hell,

Which was underground.

 

We took the memories of

The ocean crossing: glasses, blankets, religious icons

Cracked black and white photos,

Peasant kitchen-knickknacks,

Odd, misshaped glass sugar bowls,

Sprung Swiss alarm clocks

A few simple clay dishes and spaghetti bowls

The rest we left behind.

 

We carried the plastic-covered couch

Out through the backdoor

And placed it by the curb

Tear drops rolled down my eyes

As if I were burying it along with Mom and dad

Good-bye, plastic-covered couch.

 

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