Luke Perry and Molly Ringwald as Fred and Mary Andrews on Netflix's Riverdale.
Luke Perry and Molly Ringwald as Fred and Mary Andrews on Netflix’s Riverdale.
 
He was no Tom or Tom or Denzel,
not larger than life, but still better.
We now-middle-aged wishful Brendas


longed to soothe his '90s-style, James-Dean
hurt. We named our children Dylan.
It was all we could do 


in our real lives. We dreamed he was anything 
we wanted him to be, unlike our boyfriends,
husbands, fathers. When he came back


to us as good Fred Andrews, faded father,
forlorn and forthright, furrows careworn
in his brow--like ours, stigmata


of worry and burden--he wore
plaid shirts, jeans, and work boots 
Hamlet-like. He hath, like us,


that within that passeth show,
the wound unseen.  He forgave us
our broken marriages, our wayward,


unreconcilable children. Saint Fred,
patron of goodness under temptation,
of the small-town lost world


that never was any better than rotten
at the core, let our serial dreams
say what they would. Out of the countless 


deaths today, this one made us 
mourn, this idea's premature grave.
It could have been us. A real man died 


too young, and though someone's loss  
will last, we can forget. Thank goodness
for this easy grief, this dress rehearsal.

Copyright © 2019 Jennifer Brown. All rights reserved.