Sacrifices, as published in Asylum


At the turn of the corner,
behind a covering thick tree,
the '82 silver Corolla
screeched slightly and began
down the hill;
dismantling dawn behind its headlights
before they bounced into the
driveway and faded.
After the creaks of the wooden
porch stairs mother would plummet
into the bed
sprawling her limbs,
like a deer just shot.

Sighing, like an old balloon finishing
its shrivel she foundered
into the pillow; and cradled behind me:
draping an arm over my shoulders and across my chest,
burying her forehead against my back.
I shivered and her muscles loosened,
from thighs to arms.
She became still like a mollusk.

It was as if all day
since she had been jolted
by her convenience store coffee,
through the afternoon
of withdrawal into the homes of other people
to scrub floors and dust furniture,
the evening reheating chicken for dinner, rushed;
and finally, the graveyard
shift, asking her to mop thirteen aisles
of groceries
she had longed
for that warmth of kin flesh
to restore her once again.