Three women from down the road heaped forkfuls of revised memories into my newly widowed grandmother. They consoled her into remembering a different marriage as other women had done for them. They called it the rites of a light heart. Their husbands’ rigid fists became hands glib with plant soil, and instead of bruises down their thighs, they saw hickies planted like booby-traps along their collarbones. Soon my grandmother no longer remembered the liquor steaming from grandpa’s skin like smoke at the end of a cigarette, and could only picture him in the brown suit he wore to look nice. At his funeral, she spoke of his invisible burdens as if finally seeing them clearly. Lucifer was misunderstood, just needed compassion, she elegized, and gave a copy to every mourner. She put one in her husband’s grave should he come to her in a dream.
She rarely finds them now but they leave / their punctuation on her bed like laundry.
as in I’m scared
not by how much I need,
but by how much I’m prepared
to wreck to make it
How we know our bodies comes from the way we are handled, from the way your parents held you to the press of sexual partners. We become ourselves through the experience of skin against other skin.