Who do you want to forget? 5Your dad shook my hand,and held me tight for an odd amount of seconds, the night of your funeral.It started as a handshake,his fingers curling around mine, my finger rubbing against his wedding band--strong arms wrapping around my somber frame,and he shook me,as if to wake me.As if to remind me,you wouldn't be back; Caroline wails in the background, "It's not right. It shouldn't have mattered."He sobbed in my freshly oiled hair to thank me for knowing you.And even though, I knew it would be a closed casket,the bullet chewing through your skull in closed captioningI wore a low cut shirt,to remind you of what you'd never need again.
Who do you want to forget? 4Attempt #4In a love song,I am not, yet Papa,you brought home a hooker with my name.A friend,you called her, and she looked younger than my mother.She had long fake nails,they curved and bent to an acrylic rhythm.Her mouth was outlined in black,eyebrows thin, breasts high.She was born with a stick of gum in her mouth,stuffed between her cheeks,each syllable popping, bottom lip dipping low, jaw grinding,Her neck followed the pattern of her enunciation, "Hey ba-beh, hey." She stooped down low,I stared at her big bright yellow toenail,sticking out of her stilettos. She lowered herself to all fours, before laying flat on her belly,to look me in the eye,"Oh, you look just like your daddy."She gave a big smile, her mouth open,welcoming me to count her gold teeth.If I knew the words then, as I know them now,I'd have axed her if she was the reason my parents never married.
Who do you want to forget? 3Attempt #3Spiky tufts of blond hair,your little diamond earring.Your eyes matched the bright blue rubberbands on your braces--they took my breath away. I wore bright blue sports bras,and tried to run for miles, got a few blocksstarted wheezing, and needed my inhaler. Guys, wait up.Cuzin's best friend, and I don't like you.(Just your smile.)We're the same, wedgie on Monday, I'll chase you on Tuesday,I rented you at recess:dodgeball, kickball, soft ball, and we caught catepillars (they'll evolve, you said.)One of the guys,did your breasts ache, too? One of you,I won't cry if you hit me. I won't.Cuzin told you I had so many barbies,no, no, no.Cuzin told you I still baked mudpies(with the Tonka trucks, and plastic pails.)Cuzin told you I thought you were cute,had your name in all my notebooks--death, come swift.You looked rather offended, yet still patted my backwhen our catepillars died.
Who do you want to forget? IIAttempt # 2My name ain't in a love song,and for that I will never forgive.There was this time, when you were desperate (most of the time)and you asked me to cry.-Come on, baby. Cry quick. Make your dad feel bad. I tried to cry, I pulled my eyelids apart until I had big moon eyes,and stared into space.-Quick, punch me.You hesitated, and perhaps, for a moment,you remembered that you were my mother. But, I think it was when you felt the twitch,you remembered you were first an addict,and punched me in the gut like I stole something.Grasping, tiny hands clenching for air,as I sank to my knees.I gave a howl, and was edged with laughter.You gave a frown, and knew I was your disaster.I wanted to be a Sarah.
Who do you want to forget?Attempt #1The bus driver looked exactly like my daddy,as he waited for me to find my fare, my smart card.Perhaps, while rummaging through my purse, as the bus began to jerk into motion,I spent a moment too long making a check list of his face:His thick, black lips worlds' bigger than my Mother's (of which I inherited); rough, wizened five o'clock shadow;a gleam, a shine of hope that rested where hair no longer did.I could not remember his nose, but I preserved the cannonball shape of his head,and the pieces of shrapnel for ears--on exhibit, history on my shoulders.In my daddy's time, there wasn't such a thing as a smart card.There was a diploma, and he'd say in a voice I can't remember, "Diplomas take you places."No, daddy. I've got this plastic card, and I ride, like cholesterol to the heart, throughout this city.I've got this life now too, and I haven't thought of your face in years.The bus driver has clean fingernails, and grunts.I fumble with the card, and I am disapp
Distance, revisitedI am blurred by the miles,with such distance,I could be naked.Put on your reading glasses, and perhaps, surprise!I am space between your toes,cracked, dry, peeling. I spend too much time thinking of your feet,imagining the taste of dirt, the scrape of your toenail,the crack when you flex them.There is a man, perhaps, you.He is far,and with such distance,I think he's calling me pretty. Maybe he's just calling to me: hey girl, hey-hey girl &
FingerspellSometimes, she would dig her nails in my palmas she told me what she wanted. She never apologized.Fingers would diligently beat upon my hand;her thoughts were extraordinary, unpolluted, mine.If she suspected my attention had wandered,those sharp nails would sink into my pale flesh.I slapped her the first time she did that.As she got older, and her face became fullerif my palm were to strike the cheek, it would be in a caress. Yet, I sat still,waiting for her hand to featheragainst my mouth before applying pressure."Open your mouth!"Her fingers would order."Speak. Speak."This is what she wanted. To feel the vibrations of my voice against her soft milky hand.Her free hand would venture from my wrist to my shoulder,pulling on the cloth of my blouse.It would reach my throat, and first give a strong squeeze.Only when I gasped, when the muscles submitted,would she allow the hand to release.Her mouth would break, and ma