Slur song. Steel pipe dragged across pavement
clicking a two-beat count. Heart
stopper. Gag chant. Flesh rattled dance. Cigarette stomp
straight to the teeth. You say one thing and I hear
the moon shudder, bone whistle
and shrink. I imagine your laughter
stunning a bird, tilting a window frame, locking
a hundred mouth-sized doors. Mama, I’m waiting
for the right time to tell you
an unconvincing reason to love me. I expect
you will summon a tender disbelief. A temple
of black-haired yellow boys calling me
back to the table, calling me brother, holding my face
against a hand-polished mirror
like they own me. I don’t know what I expect.
I see how you cherish cleanliness, the so many boxes
full of discarded clothes, toys, old shells. Mama,
I’m silk. I’m thin as canvass. I’m so impressionable.
I’m crawling out of safekeeping
into an unforeseen fragility. Of course I remember
how you warned me. I surrendered many hesitations
before arriving at this wisdom. Pretty as you are, mama.
Tell me what you can about shuttered windows.
Unspool our earliest memories of warmth and we could
share a haunted gentleness. This unsuitable
disposition of knowing too much. Yes, I should be
thankful. I should count my blessings
while they last. I know they won’t.
Mama, the thought of you
knowing is the most faithful monster.