dig deep inside her cold flaky scalp and accent
motherhood’s worn face, worn hips, and worn-
out father buried somewhere along the long time ago.
Her squints creak like heavy decades of swinging
the A-B-C’s of hope: a hard-scrabbled scribble
memorized inside the sounds of sharp consonants
tongued between hoe and back and a stooped-over life.
There’s no way to wash off a despair as long as no way out.
Stiff and rusted as pioneer-hope, she just keeps blasting
another ramble, imagining it’s always sooner or later loss
and a failure to feel what’s different between them. It tastes
like somebody’s else’s last-ever kiss; it’s crazy, weepy,
vengeful as a need left out to dry and turn into never enough
time for the kind of love children crave. Once upon a time,
her lovers could run through her like drunken bachelors,
their stories all weather-beaten lies, translucent as folklore –
still, the names they cooed, her soft skin, the too blue sky.