Saturday, August 18, 2012

My Siblings Rarely Cleaned Their Rooms

“Fate is a really useful way for adoptive parents to entitle themselves. ‘Of course I’m your mom! I was meant to be your mom! God said I was your mom! This isn’t coincidence! So go clean your room!’”

To this day, I'm not really sure
What motivated my parents
To get themselves carried away
By adoptive extravagance,

Seven children in seven years,
Orphaned, abandoned, knocked around,
From orphanages, from the streets,
From broken families, from none,

From Korea, New York, Boston,
Aged newborn to adolescent,
A smorgasbord of accidents,
Ethnicities and impairments,

Plus two more neighborhood extras,
Kids from big broods around the block,
Ordinary Jersey white boys
Who lived with us more than at home.

The desire to be good Christians
In an evangelical church
That spoke of charity as love
And thrived on testimonials,

The increasing heroism,
Daring, and notoriety
Attaching to each addition,
Holy exceptionalism,

The growing sense of miracle,
As somehow the children fit in
And sufficient money was found
To hold the household together,

Genuine fun and affection,
Genuine sin and recklessness,
The wild joy of swooning into
The arms of a merciful God,

The inability to stop
Until they sensed they'd gone too far
And that maybe all the kids might not
Turn into successful adults.

All these things, and others, I've guessed,
Not knowing either why they quit.
The mothers who reclaimed their boys?
The neighbors who dared to grumble?

Age? Finances? A lapse of faith?
Entropy catching up with them,
Perhaps, as it caught up with us
In our forever junk-strewn rooms.

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