Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2015  Vol. 14 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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While my mother disowns me for everything I am becoming,
my son sleeps upstairs, his outline scrawled in grainy light

across the monitor. And my mother’s gone, the dead line reeling
its single tone. My legs ache, and I fear another blood clot—

what could break from such small dams to aneurism.
But the moon’s brighter than I remember, like colder nights

when pacing the drive I stood all hours at the entrance, looking up
the empty street, expectant as the antique dealer’s wife

in Watervliet, months before they closed, confused behind her register
as I progressed through shelves of rusted tools—awl and auger, level

and saw, rows of hand-hewn wooden boxes, shot-holed signs
for long-forgotten varieties of soda—

believing me her child, a family friend, finally a stranger, then apologizing
for her queerness with the story of her stroke in a Chicago restaurant,

her headache drowning the server’s voice, the room blacked to silence.
I settle in the rocker, searching each leg for knots beaded deep in muscle

and wait for my son to wake with hunger, so I can gather and tell him,
this is what people do for the inconsolable.  end  

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