(An old girl from 2009)
one of ours got scraped out
no more eggs, babies, parts
hands made hollow and poured the green glow,
shook her up like dressing
starved to a nothing-husk
gold hair gone, full lips crack the black hole
and our grandmother, her hip-pin slip out
bones gone to pudding
she rides the bed, claws clipped
nothing to admire now
my guts turn out no end
these are these days, evidence in the bowl
cutting everyone off like blooms.
sucking breath back, and the blood alone
An old, old one. Still timely, and more so.
1. You’re purple phase: strapless, lavender, violet ‘P’ necklace, quilted, plum ankle-straps. Or the silk, mulberry and gold, backless. When the time came for me to wear it, I didn’t. You unpinned the shoulders to match your mouth.
2. In a rage, home late, grabbing me from sleep, wrenched arm, dropping the dresser drawers out on me. Refold, refold. And when all of the tissues in the wastebasket reappeared: “not used enough.” You didn’t speak to me for weeks. Mercy.
3. But your back broken now. The right side inches above the other. Your hips are turning around on you, spine craning your head. A mess of moles marking. When did they come? You climb into bed at every chance. All those times I stomped on cracks crying & what you will do.
4. There’s something small, & spun. Thinner than nerves, it lines and wonders at you like things you know from white-haired women, and what my Grandfather smelled like. How you can make everything work like vulnerable swaddling, what all your hands can hold, my hope. And before boiling my bath, before my skin at the second degree: something like a nectar clinging to the insides, ensuring it works, then burning.