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.

Adam's 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. Visit him here:



Copyright 2009