Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I despise the backward look,
the dissection of every vignette,
filed and cross-filed into a tangled snare.
Memories lurk- threadbare hobos
with their crude cipher and astonishing agility.
They ride your ass if you slow down
long enough to let them on.

My mother rises unbidden at the scent of almonds.
Pretty and strong, she stirs the flames
beneath a pot of blood and kisses,
ladles the sticky-sweet fodder
into my bare hands.
I hate the recollection of her misplaced hope,
how it spilled onto me its inescapable taint.

Early on my father, young and cocky,
eyed a more inviting table.
He was a poor provider
whose own greed gnawed a hole too big
for us to fill and ate away the frayed threads
that barely bound him.

My siblings are blurs of black and white,
pushed to the periphery,
their faces are too much like mine,
the familiarity unbearable;
a funhouse mirror minus the fun.
I relegate them to a summer picnic
on a rare day of harmony
that I most likely dreamed.

And there’s me in scuffed red shoes,
panties sagging below the hem
of a homemade dress. My hair is long
and am holding a goddamned
biscuit of all things.
Look at how I gather every sort of anxiety
I can fit into my maw.
Already I was too hungry,
too willing, too lost.
This is the foundation I inherited-
one foot lodged in chaos,
the other in the most embarrassing sort of hope
that comes from too much reading
and climbing trees to look
into the neighbor’s kitchen windows.

It is better to forget than to sift for some
unlikely morsel that has lost its sweetness.
Wiser to disregard the sparse tenderness
that must have sometimes passed my lips.
Now I keep moving. Indistinguishable,
I say grace and remember nothing,
never think, for one minute,
that my belly might be filled.

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