The Antagonist’s Daughters

One Thursday night
he stands up and shatters himself
into a thousand pieces.

Early the next morning
the phone starts screaming.

Mother first
demanding an explanation
as if I keep an atlas of his brain tucked in my bra.

I just keep on sweeping him up
and tell her, “I don’t know. But I’m sure it will all work out.”
These lies never bother me; I tell them all the time.

I hear the reprimanding anthem of my upbringing
squeeze through her teeth:
You’re just like him, just like your father.

Again I am responsible for the mistake she once made
loving such a dangerous man.   She doesn’t say it
but she suspects somewhere I’ve hidden the blueprints
For all their failed inventions.

Later comes the call
from his name sake and arch enemy.
Wow. yeah. Sad. yeah. Gun? yeah. Bye. yeah.
Another call from a phone booth, I assume,
without enough change. I hang up too.

By the time baby-sister arrives
I’m putting away the mop and pail,
rummaging to make room in the broom closet for
the rumors and legends that
we’ll mail out with our holiday cards
to the cousins next Christmas

Without fanfare she drops an unopened jar of peanut butter
onto the kitchen table, alongside the permission to eat it
entirely, if we choose,
with our trigger fingers.