Thursday, April 05, 2012

My Daughter's First Joke 3/30

My Daughters First Joke

we are meeting
as we do
in the fall like we do
in our small home there
are at least thirty people here
that’s how we roll
she is four
I am tumbleweed bouncing
from small room to small room
it doesn’t matter
every belly will be filled
every drink as well
my daughter is stalking my shadow
she is four and confident
she is telling me something
“Mom, I have a joke and it’s funny.”
I tell her I know
she stares daggers
which translates
“You say that all the time.”
there is music and chatter
spades and uno
there are folks eating dinner
and eating dessert
it’s family
this is what we do

she stands
four years old in her pretty dress
hands on her hip she clears throat no one
can hear her because no one is listening
she decides to wear her big girl voice
“ I have a joke, and it is funny.”
everyone pauses for the cause
some forks in mid air
a Boston derailed
she smiles speaks only
when she has everyone’s attention
“what has a hole and you screw it?”

you could hear the breath stilling
in the chests of every person in the room
I become petrified tree
stuck in spot hand fluttering to throat
my brother
bursts into laughter
my mother eyeball him to the kitchen
the younger children try to guess
the adults are in a state of terror
I exchange feverous eyes with
my now wasband

“what is it? come on, guess.
what has a hole and you screw it?”

no one guesses
no one breathes
no one moves
my brother is giggles away
from hyperventilating in the kitchen

“a light bulb!”

the relief flowed through the room
held breath released laughter ensued
my tree trunk legs go wobble
I plant myself in the nearest chair
she curtseys
then flounces
and that’s really the only word for it
stands in front of me striking a b-boy stance
“I told you it was funny”

I scoop her in my arms
make a promise in my head
to teach my baby how to tell a joke
that doesn’t cause mental heart attacks
we laugh together
my baby told her first joke
and after the trauma
it was pretty damn funny

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