one by one the coins fell
into a sea of cymbals
that disturbed the peaceful
night air
of low traffic
and ticking clocks
twenty one fifty…
twenty one sixty…
twenty one sixty five…
her mumbles
monotonous and dead
the clashes of every penny
nickel and dime
i stopped my hand
twitched
cringed
tried not to break
the pencil in my hand
and failed

dinner was always the same
there was not a bite
not accompanied
by bitter faces
sour looks
dry conversations
of cheap copper
or crumpled currency
i wrapped a few mantous
in a stolen McDonalds napkin
and walked away

one day i had enough
and retreated outside
my bare feet on pavement
my breath misty
i almost went back
for one of my mother's old jackets
or at least sneakers
but the apartment
was just as hostile
the way they glared
and hissed and snapped
tossed bills in each others faces
so i decided
i didn't mind the cold
and stayed

two months worth of socks
stockpiled in the bathroom sink
the toilet remained unflushed
yellow rings had formed
at waterline of the bowl
i snatched my toothbrush
closed the door behind me
and proceeded to gag
in the kitchen
then i turned on the faucet
and was not surprised
when nothing came out
i would ask them why
if one ever woke up
or the other ever came home
or both ever stopped dreaming
for just one second

i watched my mother pack
two suitcases and three bags
inside were clothes and papers
a cassette player and books
i watched my father slam the door
he locked himself in the bedroom
like he always did
and switched on the television
i asked my mother
if she would return by dinner
i asked my mother
if she would wash the socks in the sink
i asked my mother
if she would stop leaving
but all she did was grab my father's pants
ones he always left on the floor
and took out the wallet
and took out the money
and threw everything else on the floor
then with her two suitcases
three bags
and fifty one dollars
she said good-bye.