Kevin Ridgeway is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press) and nine chapbooks of poetry including Grandma Goes to Rehab (Analog Submission Press, UK). His work can recently be found in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Plainsongs, San Pedro River Review, The Cape Rock, Trailer Park Quarterly, Main Street Rag, Cultural Weekly and The American Journal of Poetry, among others. He lives and writes in Long Beach, CA.
My father had finally come home
after twelve years in a federal penitentiary.
It was the first birthday I spent with both
of my parents. The day I became
a teenager. My brother had moved
out of the house three months before,
so I had them both all to myself.
We decided to visit Forest Lawn
in the hills overlooking
the movie studios, where
we paid our respects to
the dead movie stars
who I worshipped with
the hope that I would escape
from my lonely childhood
at a time when
black and white ghosts
kept me company, and
I discovered who my parents
pretended to be before
they both became ghosts who
watched me grow up in the dark
in search of them in a place
where dreams go to die.