cracks splitting her still-nimble fingers. The scorched
skin hanging from her face was an aged bronze sag.
She spoke through heavily-coated-with-lipstick lips,
and I huddled around her pretending to be warmed
by the divinity of having someone hear me confess.
Her laughter was a high-desert snow but her breath
was the must of hamper towels. She told stories
the way wicker women stare: through a thick haze
of antipathy. Sweat would drip between both eyebrow
grooves until she’d daub her face, pick up her tale,
and drop it exhausted as a burlap sack full of beans.
But whenever I’d close my eyes to blink, I’d see her
gentle hands on fevered faces, blowing hot thermals
of breath the way heat flows through canyons or words
snap into the language of abandonment – as if I needed
altogether unwanted scribbled into something legible.
There were times, though, her eyes became a grey sea
seeing angels, the sweetness of dreams, Christmas trees,
hospice, and the foggy goodbye glass of backseats.
They’d roll behind her head as if she were brewing coffee
or frying bacon or remembering everything. I asked her once
if I could be excused. She just kissed me on the salty nape
of my neck and tasted, I think, a certain readiness for fresh air
and all that would someday be.
Included in my chapbook "The Allness of Everything" (Maverick Duck Press)
(To learn more about "The Allness of Everything," click here.)