The metronome of its ashen handle/ counted time against my thigh as I walked,/ but at some point it stopped, and I did not.
What you said/ sent the cockroach/ under the refrigerator.
I figured I could make a king cake. I figured I should make a king cake. Being from Mobile, Ala., the home of the first Mardi Gras celebration in America (not New Orleans, Mobilians are sensitive about that), I thought it’d only be right that I tried once, at least. Maybe it’d be on par with a local Louisiana bakery? The bar was high according to my father. But at the very least it’d be homemade by me and there are points for that, and I could always blame a screw-up on the recipe. I’d bring it in to work, because what did I need with a bunch of king cake at home. I’d be an authority on king cakes.
Certainly to be an adult is to be many, many things we think of as childlike: vulnerable, mistaken, confused, petulant, afraid, irrational, and despairing. We never stop making missteps, learning, and growing up. But that doesn’t mean we don’t sometimes have our shit mostly together. Just like many children do.
I confessed to my older brother that my outbursts, all the yelling I was doing combined with the physicality required to control Mateo, felt like a form of emotional and physical abuse. “If a hidden camera was following me,” I said, “and you watched that footage, you’d say there was something seriously wrong with the father.” My brother, who has four children, empathized but warned against continuing this pattern. He’d done the same thing with his youngest child, and he now felt guilty seeing how often she, at age nine, erupted. Neither of us extended the conversation to its logical conclusion – had we failed our children? – but perhaps that point was already understood.