Shirley Temples and Long Island Iced Teas

Shirley Temples and Long Island Iced Teas

a poem by Kris Jordan
(c) 2013
*this was orginally published in Anything Prose and Poetry, Too! (Anassa Publications, LLC)

Our date was on Saturday morning
I skipped cartoons to seal my hair back with a barrette
Wiggled into a ruffle trimmed dress
You wore cowboy boots and the smells-good I bought you for Father’s Day
You look pretty, you say
And I feel sugary swirly sweet- an exclusive gift from you

We went to the Garden of Eden where
they give everyone a balloon twisted into an apple
sits precariously in their hand
Under shaded lamps, baked apples are served beside every pork chop
My small fingers are hidden in your hard working
construction plumber baker strong hand

My thick short glass magnifies tiny bubbles resting on syrupy cherries
Yours is tall in a glass that stacks the ice to the lip
Not like the beer I see you drink
Not like the cans that
Litter our home, cause you to sleep, make you as recpetive as concrete

Sweat lingers in the creases of your forehead
You become irritable at the waitress
She brings you another tall glass
That’s what you wanted
A sexy, tall woman not a thick goofy child
She brings a third, maybe more
And I enjoy my food more than I should
Filling my round belly
Wondering if I’ll ever be satisfied
If I’ll ever be pretty

We get in to your truck and you spit us out into traffic,
Barely missing cars in either direction
You look at me ashamed
My knuckles grasping the door, my knees clenched to my chest
I’m sorry, you say
But I don’t believe it
You’ve said it too often


Author’s Commentary

One day when reflecting on my childhood and my relationship with my dad, I had this memory of a father-daughter date that went awry due to his addiction to alchol. In it, I saw my addiction to food. I thought about the different tools we use to cope with our unexpressed feelings, and that sense of not being in control, not feeling safe, and that desperation in feeling so scared.

For so many kids, growing up in a home with addiction and/or alcholism is very common. We must be able to recognize the children in our life are victims of circumstances outside their control and they need support. They need to be heard. They need to know as adults, they can choose coping strategies and life tools that allow them to grow past old ways of self preservation.

For you who have hurt in this way, I send you love and peace. I encourage you to do a search for Alanon or Adult Children of Alcholics or Celebrate Recovery or Addiction Support Groups and see if any resonate with you, and follow that prompting.  You have been impacted by addiction, but you can find tools to support you now. I love you!

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