For my father
in the dining room, action figures were imprisoned in a green vase, and you returned from prison with my uncle, looking slimmer
from pushups in sunbaked yards
mustache and dazed look gone, down on one knee, arms open wide & smiling with teeth I learned were fakes
I thought you were fake, too
unrecognizable, a stranger from a blurred past we no longer spoke of, only at grandma’s house, when we opened letters decorated by your brother with cut-outs from Marvel comics
& were told you were away on business –
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays, but it’s going to look a little bit different this year. Like many, we’ve decided to not do an in-person meal with my family, opting instead to exchange food with my mom.
There are ghosts in my family –
I realize this as my mother tells tales
of a biological grandfather I never knew
who blew smoke in my face
when I was two
of years my father spent in jail
of anxiety that permeates
the family tree, which is
diseased & hollowed
about to crumple & topple
into grayish dirt
(Photo by Dikaseva on Unsplash)
The day my brother was born, I was torn –
already 16 years old
on the cusp of college & adult life
he was so precious
he kept me close to home
in mind & soul
even though the family fell apart
I keep him close to my heart
worry about him, but know that
he’s my blood & I’d go to the gates of Hell
to protect him.
(Photo by Kylo on Unsplash)
Being a Southern woman, making food is a part of your soul. It’s in our blood, it’s part of our spirit. It’s just what we do – we cook when we’re happy, when we’re expecting guests, when we’re down, or during a pandemic.
She slinks through the apartment
like a predator
a mouse-killer on the prowl
a scowl on her feline face
little Olivia, our baby girl
she’s a cute kitty, but
she’s also a cold-blooded killer.
Note: This poem is about our cat, Olivia. She’s the cutest little kitty, and also an excellent mouser!
A couple of weeks ago, I reached out to a friend to ask about job opportunities. Lucky me, he runs a music website dedicated to what’s known as “Stoner Rock.” Now, I’m not a stoner (not anymore, anyway), but I do listen to Stoner Rock bands quite often.
On the eve of the funeral, there was a knot in my stomach –
his death was so sudden
a Friday night phone call + he’s gone forever
I felt panic, a wave of grief that threatened to demolish me
my sister stepped into the summer night + screamed
a primal shout that began long years of healing.
(Photo by Richard Burlton on Unsplash)
I want to trace my family’s history,
go back + find out how we got here –
there was a suicide in the ‘70s, a wound
we carry but do not discuss –
secrets hide in the shadows
+ who knows how they affect us.
Poor little Nico, he’s a silly dog.
He scratches himself all day,
howls whenever we go away –
I see him after I’ve been gone,
he wags his tail, greets me at the door, asks,
“Where have you been?”