Feed the Parents

(a silly poem I wrote and did not revise one bit while I was supposed to be listening to an important lecture)


Two or three extra pizzas are all it takes

We come in love for our children

but we’d rather be shopping at Whole Foods

or reading

in our hoodies and husband’s sweat socks

loading the dishwasher

ripping up those Sgt. Grit and Venus magazines

feeling sold to corporate offices

but important

We watch the little rumpled bodies

track pants too short

springing over the inflated hills

scurrying on all fours through that course

sliding, limbs flailing

We cringe over the burns

on their wrists and elbows

They cry, hit in the head

by a plastic bat at the pitching station

Here they hop, clutching down there,

needing a trip to the bathroom

with the teal-and-purple-painted stalls

Thirsty, thirsty, fooling around

on the Target stool under the fountain,

they stumble and fall with their wet mouths

and spotted Avengers shirts

“Get off the floor!” we screech,

our bodies in slow motion,

minds whirling with visions of germs

nit-like bugs burrowed in the Berber rug

seeking the sweet skin of a fresh five-year-old

We line up with the children in the hallway

decorated with photographs of gourmet cakes

shuffle toward the teenage boy

with the huge bottle of hand sanitizer


We now have Sani-Hanz

and can sit without worry

on the sticky wooden benches in the party room

stale crumbs wedged in the cracks

The birthday star is a wild one

We know because we have heard the stories

of his booger-flicking and girl-chasing

He dives onto the oversized blow-up throne

(a grinning gorilla with zebra-swirling eyes

is climbing up the back of it, about to reach over—

watch out!) and wriggles and cackles

and soon, three of his classmates scramble up

with him, hooting and bellowing

We have to drag them down to their plates

and their Capri Suns, full sugar,

and fret about the fragile souls who feel

left out at the ends

Then we spot the clusters of balloons

We count silently

There are too many pink ones

We count the children’s heads

There are more heads than balloons

We know that our child will be the one

whose face will crumple and redden

whose protests we will shush

by promising a trip to Toys R Us

on the way home from this ghetto office park

When the lights go out for the song

two girls sob, reminded of the night shadows

in their bedrooms

We wonder if we will get a piece

(we’re not picky—we just like the corners—

and maybe no roses, and the navy blue frosting

does stain the teeth, but we can deal)

Instead we pretend that we know

the party is not for us

trying to blend against the walls

holding the wipes and the coats

and praying that our children stay upright

on those backless wooden seats

or else risk a trip to the ER

with the two-hundred-and-fifty-dollar copay

and the three-hour wait


look at that

The teenage girl is rolling away the cart

with all the leftovers

forks stuck in the untouched slices

like swords in the guts of kings

in a Shakespearean play

But we are the defeated ones

We take our goodie bags of dollar-bin junk

tiny plastic trinkets that pierce our bare feet

and get lodged in our vacuums

tattoos that will cling to our children’s skin

until DSS knocks to claim neglect

and we coo, Thank you! Thank you!

and we are full of thanks—don’t get us wrong—

we are better mothers for it

an evening of activity, rather than of TV

we just wish that maybe


we could have put our lips

onto a slice of cheese pie

cold as it probably was

and calmed












Categories: spurredgirl's Original Poetry Collection, UncategorizedTags: , , , , ,

1 comment

  1. Very funny – from hungry birthday party going mom.

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