Bakelite ashtrays overflowed with Winstons and Kools,
as her parents’ friends mingled on a sea of shag carpet,
and swayed to Dusty Springfield on the turntable.
Her mother smelled of White Shoulders,
and her father was the life of the party.
They talked and laughed until the tension was obvious,
and the guests invented reasons to leave.
When the screams and slams and accusations began,
the girl in the flowered nightgown knew to escape. Quietly pulling
a chair across burnt orange tiles, she found the answer in the sink.
In the bottom of thick crystal glasses,
warm swallows of Brandy Alexander,
cherries soaked in Whiskey Sour, a few sips of a Pink Squirrel.
The key was drinking just enough to feel safe. It worked
every single time, tucking her into a dream of happily ever after,
and the only thing she could count on.
Soon the parties stopped, and her parents split,
but it took another decade for the booze to stop working.
Maria Masington is a writer from Wilmington, Delaware. Her poetry has been published in The News Journal, The Red River Review, Damozel Literary Journal, and by the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, MAVEN TO MARS haiku project. Her short story IMPASARIO has been accepted for publication in Someone Wicked, due to be released by Smart Rhino Press in 2013. Maria is a member of the Written Remains Writer’s Guild, The Wright Touch critique group, and participated in the 2012 Cape Henlopen Poets and Writers Retreat. The first Tuesday of every month, you can find her at the Newark Arts Alliance, where she emcees their open mic night, for writers of all genres to share their work.