Parent/Teacher Conference

By Lisa Badner

Featured Art: Chrysanthemums in the Garden at Petit-Gennevilliers by Gustave Caillebotte, 1893

My son’s third grade music teacher
was the girlfriend of my piano teacher
in nineteen eighty-three.
I was a teenager.
She was hip and grown-up with long hair.
She has no clue we ever met.
But I remember her.
I remember hearing her scat sing
while I walked up the stairs.
She also doesn’t know
that I had sex with her thirty-something boyfriend,
rather—that I let him have sex with me—after she’d leave
and after I played the Bach French Suites—
in their Bleecker Street walk-up.
I was desperately trying to be straight
(it didn’t work).
We are sitting on little-kid chairs
and she is discussing my son’s musical prowess,
in spite of his bad behavior in chorus.
She still has long hair, now dyed blonde.
She tells me my son is a little lost,
struggling to find his place.
I know from lost—I want to yell out.
This conference is about my son.
So I nod and smile thinking
about being sprawled out numb
in nineteen eighty-three.
I want to talk about me.
I want to curl up into her arms
and go to sleep.

Lisa Badner’s writing has appeared in magazines including Rattle, PANK, Ping Pong, Mudlark, the Mom Egg Review, Fourteen Hills, New World Writing, and The Satirist. “This is Not an Obituary” in New Ohio Review Issue 20 received “Special Mention” in Pushcart 2018. Lisa’s full length poetry collection, FRUITCAKE, is forthcoming in 2022 with Unsolicited Press.

Originally appeared in NOR 20.

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