She composed her life where
she could only lie there
counting on the cold air
to cobweb her resolve.
She produced a bird sound
pulling at her night gown
dripping on the warm down
her bloody siren’s call.
I handwashed in cold soap
watching pinkish suds go
overwriting striped holes
a palate soft as silk.
Her young eyes were bright white
lightning veins and lids tight
face uncut by smile lines
and pale as mother’s milk.
Nights of pacing, breath spent
oh her little teeth went
nails impaling, harsh bit
to draw my eyes away.
Oh my sparrow, I’d sigh
why do I even try
baptized forearms swayed.
I am sorry, sparrow
winter trapped us in snow
winter kept the coals cold
You were already gone.
you were already gone
A gentle rain, a cavalcade
has split my thoughts along their seams.
An arcing path of barricades
Was layered strangely in my dreams.
Patterning the open ground,
the droplets reassure the space.
The floor of water flows around
where dirt and pavement alternate.
My fathers’ hands were buried stumps,
the dirt imprinted onto them.
I stepped along the newest lump.
Like glass, I saw the form of him.
Like bone, his dripping headstone shined,
like doom, he hung about my head.
Like planet earth, he churned my mind,
and lo my mother, too, was dead.
Her frailty affixed to me,
and mingled with the smell of death.
The lips that could not comfort me
moved with maggots, not with breath.
I pull my glasses from my face
To wipe the errant paths away.
Oh, Mother Mary, full of grace,
please stay until my dying day.