Dear Abby Poems

Poems constructed entirely from "Dear Abby" advice columns

Never Interested in Romance

The right man for you
Is the wrong reason
And a house
Is uncomfortable for me
Willing to wait
For a year
For the wedding
Never interested in romance or
The repercussions if I do

If you like
The quicker you
If you like
I like a few
I haven’t always
Having a difficult time
Letting myself be
My whole life


Unresolved Trust

I had a sudden urge
To conceal something
Regardless of what
The man you’re with is
The straight and narrow
Rules of etiquette, or

Keeping things from each other
Some unresolved trust
Unwilling to do either
I was kidding when we were talking
I was kidding when we
Said “Maybe after”
I was kidding when we were
Asking for the
Sooner rather than later


Rattling the Skeletons

Nowhere in your letter
Will tell you
The whole story
The last 18 months
The night with
The web and
Rattling the skeletons

In the dark
Poking around the family closet
Nowhere in your
Straight answers, no more
Under the carpet
Wanting to know

The way your
Husband goes into a tirade
The way your
Very distant mother
Will tell you all you need to know
Will tell you
Some honest answers
Will tell you
The bottom of what they are


No Sex in New Jersey

You had said you wanted
A spiritual ceremony
Something to honor
The lucky ladies
Naturally looking a little worn

The five years I
Wanted cosmetic surgery
I would hope that, even if
The favor will never be returned

That even if
I don’t think you are
A few romantic weekends at a hotel
A physical or emotional
Idea of what your future would be

That even if
You are selfish for feeling the way
You wouldn’t start looking;
Some women do


Local Anonymous

I have never met you in person
But I’m curious

I could come up with
Time to think over the summer
Some crucial step
A very intense, but short-lived relationship
A mutual friend
We met again
At the behest of
An outside authority

Or should I keep quiet?
Searching for an accurate way to
Be able to tell you
Of the house
Of the cars
The suspicious activity and the needles
That could destroy whatever story
I can’t tell you

Should I keep quiet
And plan to stay that way?


Every Pitiful Creature

I do not think
Of my past
On good terms
While you may
Embrace every pitiful creature
Wanting to be there
To share in the festivities
I have since moved on

To my hometown
Moving back to
Check up on
The family I love
Moving back to
Embrace every pitiful
Part of my past

I have been living
Afraid and uneasy
The last few years


Toys to Keep

I put a gated area around
A controlled environment
And vowed to find a way to make
You break it

But I was wasting my breath
then, rewarding such
Small tokens of appreciation
Creating a designated play area
They could watch
Unruly and disruptive

It was enough
To keep them busy
I did gesture upward
Until they showed up
And when they did, I’d thank them for smiling


Sit Still

I dread the days
Around the house

But I do find time
To separate you
To put distance between
The counseling and medication

I do find time
Taking care of the kids
Reading and writing
I do find
A day off
The one farthest away
Doing something. This.
For almost ten years

I’m afraid I will soon resent
The time you lost
The time you
Can never get back the time you lost
Doing something. This.


Sugar Land, Texas

I visit the cemetery
After a self-imposed seclusion
With something that would have otherwise been discarded

Paying a compliment
Cleaning up one’s own mess
Wilting flowers that would have been thrown out

The world needs more of it


If You Need to Return

I didn’t think much about
The evening, or
The bouquet that was somehow lost in transit
Not knowing who sent them
Not knowing who
Is sending flowers this way

I didn’t think much
As to what the protocol is for
Not thinking straight

I almost feel like
A grief therapist
A bowl on the counter for people to leave tips
A sad reflection
Obligated to do it again

I am in my early 30s
And I almost feel like
I don’t know what to do

I almost feel like
I understand this


Once the Dialogue with Our Children Begins

The facts of life:

Questions should be answered honestly.

You may miss what you thought you had.
You could be labeled.
You could be
      a deep love,
      a heated argument,
      a deep dark or shameful secret.

You could be
      just so perfect.

They may ask questions.
They may ask
      who can help you,
      what you need,
      what you thought,
      why it was necessary.

And when they do
      understand and be proud of the journey,
      the shape and everything.


To Pull Back, If Not Stop Completely

She rehashes nearly every moment of my life
Knowing that they were once my mother’s
Her white milk glass
An appreciation of
A contest of wills
And a home that looks like a hoarder lives there

Under her roof
The milk glass was hers

Under her roof
I ask her
To be honest about this
She has been doing it for years

Under her roof
We both drank and smoked
Demanding more privacy
I ask her
To pull back, if not stop completely

And I love knowing
Why I must part with
You to let that one piece go
I love knowing

Surely you know


Full Custody

Have you any thoughts
Of their homes
Of wine to thank our hosts
As lavishly as you have entertained

Have you any
Lack of attention
Separating or divorcing
The night with
An honest answer

And in the street
Playing in her front yard
Leaving eventually but
Playing outside that way
Have you any thoughts as to why
I have remained


Man of Her Dreams

I am writing you
A letter, your
Old boyfriend from high school
Mumbling the name
Of absent fathers
Some of us
By magic and
Some far deeper than I had ever imagined

She will leave
According to schedule
Safe and secure

She will leave
Moving her lips in her sleep
Calling out another man’s name
Or that of a beloved pet
She will leave
Older now and
Well-educated and happy
Self-motivated and confident
But sleep-talking
Warmly in cold weather

She will leave
If you haven’t already


Done Discreetly

If there are any miles left
To propose, it
Should be done discreetly
As a protest
When you are ready

When you are
Faded and tattered
Wondering if you could
Really not realize what
I was wondering

When you are
A garbage man
Ready to dispose of
Rings or stones
And I am sick
A stranded soldier waiting to go home