Monday, June 6, 2016



Unbound like a ghost
Without boundaries
You show up time and time again
It can be anything that
Calls you out of hiding--
Smell of fried potatoes
Hiss of a bottle opened
Skin being slapped
A screaming child
Dead years now
You’re anything but
Bruises heal and scars fade
Yet your shadow smears
Everything gray or electric
Mother, wherever you are
If you can hear me
Please do us both a favor
And stay away for good



When I remember you
You are shrouded by a
Helix of cigarette smoke
Ash curling like a too-long fingernail
Clicking your nails like nibbling mice
Eyes glassy yet focused
Trained on me so that to look away
Would be an indiscreet act of cowardice
You wanting answers
Me wanting the same thing
Both of us speechless
Mother and son wondering how
We could even be related



There was that time when
We were leaving for good
And I believed you
Through reckless weather
My brothers and I trailed behind
While you cursed Dad’s name
Using labels and slurs I’d not ever heard
Half an hour later he drove up
In the long white Caddie
As you slowed your walk to
Hear what he had to say
His voice soft as pollen
Promising dry nights
Filled with dancing
When you told us to hop in
I knew then that you walked
The same way you lied
One foot in front of the other
With purpose and resolve



At breakfast I eye
The drained vodka bottles lined up
Like see-through soldiers on the kitchen counter
When I spoon too fast, sloshing milk
Your hand is a fast snake striking
You eat like a pig. Whose son are you anyway?
Just a hand this time, no belt or buckle
I study your pink housecoat that’s been rubbed raw
Matted with mice holes on the cuffs
When it gapes open I look the other way
Huh, whose son?
The clock on the wall won’t feed me any clues
And everyone else is in Oregon
You’ve been hanging out with that half-breed, Sherry Seeman
With a name like that just watch what happens
The bus comes in ten minutes
Nine minutes fifty-nine seconds
Nine minutes fifty-eight
Why don’t you have nothing to say?
There’s a beach I go to in my mind sometimes
But now the water’s barren and it’s a desert
Littered with skeletons, hot sand blowing sideways
You think you’re so clever
I’m leaning into the wind, taking baby steps
Eating grit, nearly blinded
Why don’t you go find Dad’s belt and bring it here
But up ahead now is an oasis
A lagoon with herons and broad-leafed trees
Did you hear me? I said get the belt
My legs are stone, my mouth full of chalk
Just a few more steps and I’ll be there
I know it’s a mirage but that’s where I head anyway


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