Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.

Penny and a Scratcher

I don’t know if my parents had
big dreams, I don’t know if they
fell deeply into young love, I don’t
know if they ever cried for the
beauty of youth;
all I know is when I see my dad’s
listless form slumped in front of
the TV or my mom’s empty eyes,
childlike and so pretty with make-
up, I feel an ache for their aging
unhappiness and wonder if
it was ever any different, if apathy
ever looked good on them, if forks
in the road that twine through hearts
can ever be forgotten.

“I’m feeling lucky tonight, ”
mother says with starbright eyes,
keys jingling to the car from 7-11.
She hands my sister and me a
penny and a scratcher, singing
to the sky out of a lipstick crescent
moon, “I have both of you with me

As we scratch away, the eagerness
fades like our L.A. sunset dulled
by pollution over my yesterday talk
of beginnings and bright futures,
over my parents’ yellowing questions
of how did we get to be so old, and
when we don’t win anything, she
still smiles sadly.
Nancy Woo is an emerging poet in Long Beach, CA who has a degree in sociology from UC Santa Cruz. She has been writing poems since she was 8 years old but is only recently out of denial that she does in fact write poems. She is an independent writing and editing professional, a community organizer and a budding entrepreneur.

Categories: Poetry

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