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dressed as a house so holy
with matchbook fingers and pressed dirt hands
she’s leaving her keys in-between
the pages of her Bible
old words and faded red pages
outlined births with empty deaths
what a hungry heart
what a hollow inside
where’s my thrill?
where’s my ride?
because your eyes look different under fluorescent light
than under my cover of night (when you come)
because I shook and asked you
or someone took my hands and begged you
to let me turn you black & blue.
my legs shake too, just like a victim
of burning or too much water
my father should have warned me
but he smiles.
at least someone here is learning
(not his daughter)
a picture: you leaving
we walk slowly so you can drive
miles away quickly, deliberately
as a child walks with teaspoons
poorly measured
and heaping to the door
I turn the lock to the right
and sink to the floor
to write poetry
or an entry
in a document to slip
inside my pocket
it’s mostly a comet
to keep inside the closet
or underneath a blanket
where it ended and started.
I closed the door to keep you out.
(To keep me in.)
Your voice went where it wanted.
Sitting on the bathroom floor and
digging my fingernails into my skin.
I couldn’t stop listening.

Mother, too busy hiding, didn’t
see. You were the disease she carried
home. One night I locked the car door
as you passed. You said, “You’re damaged goods.”

The door was bent against my back.
Shards of metal and splinters of wood.
Just another thing you’d broken.
You said, “Another thing I have to fix.”

— The End —