she had a brick oven in the weeds around her head
i stayed upstairs watching the street where the sky shook
the ceiling was low and airless
the cobalt walls were chipped
i slept in one room and my mother in none
most days she never moved - though
on wet nights she'd walk from room to room,
watch television men trussed in hair clubs
i'd watch her watch george foreman on QVC
she once ordered a grill and a book of recipes
she never cooked and would never learn how
our microwave was broken and she ate in the bathtub
i always planned not to think at all.
there were others living in my family.
in hallways we avoided one anothers' bubbles.
at night someone played a tina turner record.
you could hear it through the wall.
i wonder what our mother thought.
i was concerned by the plagues.
i combed my hair with a cicada casing.
it crackled and raked at the mirror. wings fluttered.
voices spoke languages. some of them said my name.
in the summers we had rain -
showers of liquor, sweat and paint.
in the winters there were blizzards
of dead cells, dander and ice.
i tore a hamstring one spring.
after certain games i grew blisters.
my mother picked shed from my scalp
and i continued to have faith in this place.
windows cracked for no reason and the carpet frayed.
the sockets shocked. the roof leaked. our cables festered
mailmen stopped their deliveries.
i prayed into pillows.
writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in 3 A.M. Magazine,
Elimae, PANK, Pindeldyboz,
and Word Riot. He lives in Brooklyn and works in publishing.
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