Clouds have never moved
more quickly than here
under the blaze.
A child’s laugh has never fallen
on softer ears than mine, now.
I watch her spoon pasta,
painting red her lace bib.
The water never cooler,
as condensation on a glass
of spiked lemonade.
Stone never felt refreshing
on bare feet, as here in this city.
And I miss you.
Your hands were rough,
But they made sturdy dreamcatchers,
pointing out shapes in the clouds.
I imagine the father you would have made,
better than mine, I now know.
But I didn’t want two girls and a boy,
even if I could’ve given them to you.
Our martini nights so quickly turned
sour, like the salted limes on glass,
It’s funny how we called it passion.
The summer before college
my mother invited me to her house for tea,
but I know she only drinks whiskey.
My tires hit the gravel,
sliding down the narrow driveway,
the whirlpool in my stomach spinning,
something more than tea is waiting.
I turn my key in the doorknob,
surprised it still fits.
I call her name;
I haven’t said “mom” since the day I left.
Silence echoes back,
but I know where she’ll be.
I step onto the back porch
and there a cigarette floats
circling fumes escaping its head.
At first, I think,
nothing has changed
but my eyes travel down,
her growing belly,
stretching out from her blouse,
contrasting the rest of her slim frame.
“She’s the size of an avocado.”
I watch a ring of smoke.
“I’m due in February.”
I remain frozen, entranced.
“She’ll be named after your grandmother.”
Her eyes beg for some response.
All I can see is the cigarette.
Another child born with lungs of ash
She draws another breath.