vigil

you are a book

i have kept open

in dimmest candlelight

long past

the reason of midnight

a girl child

two decades ago i took

an overdue trip to Central Ohio

introducing my former mother-in-law to her six month old twin grandsons

we got to talking about Kentucky

as all transplanted Kentuckians do

we bounced gurgling baby innocence on our respective maternal knees having our own little gossip social

curling wispy baby hairs in her worn fingers

her laughter turned to pained breaths

as she shuttered out

a mortifying truth

about a bluegrass upbringing

she was discussing how she had been repeatedly raped as a girl by her father in Hyden, Kentucky

ran away to something worse at 14

how her first marriage ended when she found her alcoholic unemploymed coal miner husband was molesting her two little girls while she was waitressing to support the jerk

fleeing north to Ohio with them

to single motherdom with three kids in the 1960s living in a car until she could afford a place to rent

tears streamed down

her withered cheeks

as she said

“A girl child isn’t safe growing up around a family of men in the South.”

20 years later i think of her words and the women in my biological family

four generations of women who tried to protect their genitalia from one family member

the irony of being expected to smile and pretend

give forgiving hugs

that i’m the one who doesn’t feel comfortable coming to the Thanksgiving table

not the man who couldn’t keep his hands to himself

Maslow’s Fire Sale

don’t you worry, working poor

the richest people

will always have access

to

food

clothing

shelter

sex

god’s offering plate

drugs to feel good

meaningless trophies

abortions too

so go on fighting

about the right

to wear a gun

but not a face mask

in your red Trump hat

and Walmart shoes

 

festival seating

my morning after

concert purse

contained torn ticket stubs

my fake id

a backstage pass

when backstage ass was how they hoped it would go

a real set of keys someone ask me to hold

a cigar ring label

a stranger used to propose

a guy’s number back when your rolodex was made of beer scented hope

a matchbook

though i was never cool enough to smoke

the sturm and drang

of a drummer gone mad

a safety pin that was my bra’s last prayer

mists of angst risen off

the first 50 rows

it’s the end of the world

& all i want is to go

to a dirty spit messy fuck

loud as god

rock and roll show

 

 

 

a leaf that lingered brown

i blame robert frost
his cold methodology
his need to fill disused graveyards with
death’s dazzling white snow glamour
a slow creep crystalline across
an already shattered windshield

i blame robert frost
as i cannot blame
my father
my friend
or an absent god
for them forgetting
they had promises to keep

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