Bio Note: I think I will never want to hear the word "zoom" again when this is over, but I am nevertheless thankful for the internet and the opportunities it offers to connect, share, and listen to (and occasionally participate in) readings. Friends, poetry, and pets offer so much solace. I hope to reciprocate.
After Emily Dickinson
There is a crescent moon scar where my four year old toe slipped into the too-wide gap in the stainless steel bars of the fan on the floor, and the waning evidence of a lack of parental vigilance where the fleshy part below my thumb was pinched in the clothes wringer. Before science and law dictated the safest width and height, prescribed helmets, made us fear the light, we basted our skin with baby oil, poured flat beer on our hair, skated without elbow pads, learned to flee or fight. When first failed loves made their mark, I begged for second chances. When my father left the marriage, my mother, me, I left without a glance. Stoic, just like him, untouched -- as I remain: a not admitting of the wound, that waxing stain.
Previously published in Panoply
Today I rode my headache a hundred miles to find myself at 8 with a mango in the bathtub, juice dribbling down my chin, coarse hair stuck in my teeth – my father nearby joyous with the indulgence. I promise to come out of here alive. I’m ashamed of the shame I have wrought upon my children, my son washing his hands sticky with juice, over and over, the water running hot in the sink. His hands are reddened, all fruit scoured away. I can’t find a way to bring him to the table, to peel away the skin, quarter the orange flesh, and score it, fold each section back so each square protrudes, inviting tooth and tongue, cutting loose. The mess is contained, washed away; the pit remains, gnawed to the bone. I know in the end none of this matters.
Previously published in The Blue Nib
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