Poem for My Mother Gone All These Years
I remember he told me on the phone he found you
splayed out on the cracked linoleum in the kitchen,
you unresponsive in a pool of blood or vomit, he said.
In my confusion and grief I saw dawn light
dull against cheap cabinets, the white Formica table
with folding chairs pushed against it,
the one you slid from tipped sideways.
And there is no other way to say this—
I hate him for not waking up when you slumped
to the floor, for not finding you sooner, for seeing himself
as a hero even though he slept through everyone’s anguish
and walked out of the hospital before your final exhale,
for not buying a meal for all your mourners,
how he was too cheap to purchase roses or lilies
or simple Shasta daisies for your lonely gray casket.
One Version of the Story
after Gregory Pardlo
From outside time I plunged through the night hour
into white flames of my mother’s anger,
into the crash landing of my father’s disregard.
I was born hungry with invisible teeth
to chew sadness into slivers. Born to carry
the breath of horses as birthright.
Born late but only by a day.
I was born in the forest
of my grandmother’s memory,
gone to tree root and rain silence.
I was born to you can’t and what if?
Born with a runaway hoofbeat affect.
Ahead of a sister writing her way to truth.
Behind a brother asleep and dreambound.
I was born tall and growing. I was born
all at once and for the time being, here.
For the Guest Poet Who Came from New York to Colorado
for Kasey Jueds
Perhaps it’s not realistic to suppose
those barely hazy skies were why
an invisible mist sprinkled apart
into a flurry of snow specks
in the morning air. But how
they glittered specifically
around the poet as we stood together
outside the bed and breakfast—
to see those tiny white feathers light down
and then melt into her long hair
was one of many reasons to fall
in love with the day.