Mother, don’t wear your heels out tonight.
Tommy Jr’s lost in the water-bed
and your husband sawed off the stairs

as I was in the attic catching supper.
I don’t know a thing about diving, and can’t
wet-nurse the triplets from thirty feet up.

Soon they’ll melt their ears off screaming.
Hubby will smell your eau de parfum
and ash his cigar in the bassinets.  Embers

should worry you, Mother.  As should my
surfacing ribs.  He’s from the wrong side
of the tracks, will mow you down once

your heel is caught in the railing.  He’ll crush
you the size of a paper-thin coin he can string
and wear at his neck.  If you had the courage

to fix him laced milk we could burn
this story and call it even.  Put the babies
in a boat through the rushes.  Close Tommy

in the picture-book he loves best.
Under the smug lock of heaven’s gate:
just you and me, with a hairpin.