Photography © Glenn Bowie
Family Values, Post-Election
Your father’s older brother, the uncle who took you under his wing and got you your first big job, is ashamed of you. Your father’s younger brother, the uncle who was like a cool big brother to you, the one you admired because he bucked the current, the one who helped you sneak into the house when you’d been out with those wild boys who tipped over a patrol car, the one who lied for you, he is ashamed of you. Your grandmother, the cold strict one who your parents always made you dress up for, well, I don’t know if she’s ashamed, I don’t think she ever cared enough to be ashamed, and she was always disappointed anyway, so never mind her. And no one talks about that grandfather, not anymore, not after what he did. But your other grandmother, the one your mother was always trying to pull away from because she was so old-fashioned, she is definitely ashamed of you, because what you did, it just wasn’t decent. And your aunt who always remembered your birthday is ashamed of you too. Your younger brother is dead, but he was so ashamed of you that he drank himself to death, so that’s on you. Your cousins on your father’s side are so ashamed of you, they changed their name. The ones on your mother’s side, the ones you cheated out of their inheritance, they’re too angry to be ashamed. They’ve had it with you. But all the rest of us—well, we mean it this time. You should be ashamed.
Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a retired clinical psychologist, former German major and writer of restaurant reviews, and, a two-time Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee. Her first full sentence was, “Look at the moon!” Poems have appeared in B O D Y, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Comstock Poetry Review, Waccamaw, Spillway, and, Rappahannock Poetry Review. Collections include The Book of Knots and their Untying (Kelsay Books) and the chapbooks Burrowing Song, Eggs Satori, and, Kafka’s Cat (Kattywompus Press). She co-curates Fourth Sundays, a poetry series in Claremont, California.
Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters.