July 1, 2022 • By Donnelle McGee
What we’ll always have is something we lost In the snow, the dry outline of my mother Promise me you won’t vanish again, I said She lay there awhile, thinking it over
Can you believe my uncle worked at the Colt factory for fifteen years only to use a belt at the end?
Talk about discipline. Talk about good lord.
Maybe he saw that a small thing moving through a large thing is more like a bird in a cage than a word in the mouth.
Nobody’s free without breaking open.
Because where I’m from the trees look like family laughing in my head.
Because I am the last of my kind at the beginning of hope.
Because what I did with my one short beautiful life — was lose it
Scraped the last $8.48 from the glass jar Your day’s worth of tips
at the nail salon. Enough for one hit. Enough to be good
four yolks into a day -white bowl, spoon the shells. Scallions hiss
in oil. A flick of fish sauce, garlic crushed the way you
taught me. The pan bubbling into a small possible sun. I am
a decent son. Salt & pepper. A sprig of parsley softened
I caved and decided it will be joy from now on. Then everything opened. The lights blazed around me into a white weather
and I was lifted, wet and bloody, out of my mother, into the world, screaming
The tape scrambles and I see the boy dancing with his mother in the front yard in the ’97 nor’easter, snow floating back up the sky as he twirls under her shadow — cast larger than life by sodium lights. The flakes going up to thicken god’s pillow for his never-ending sleep.
empty as a word -less mind stop writing about your mother they said but I can never take out the rose it blooms back as my own
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