Another Birth

October, 2020

It rained four days and then again, and then

the cactus rotted. The sun rose weary,

tired at dawn when I emerged, wet

and howling, spoiling a sequin-splendid

silver-studded knee-high flapper’s dress.

She danced and danced, postponing

evening’s end until the night yielded. My father

grunted “You like your candy, Marie.”

Skin so white, hair so black and shiny.

My father grunted “Another damn girl.”

 

See this? the gardener points. Save this.

But no. Too late to uproot memories

embedded like a truth, albeit false,

rotted in my grievance-box like paper

plates for cake after the party ended

and my mother took me home wet

and squalling, wrapped in sequins

and permanently hungry.

 

It doesn’t matter now. Easily death

presented himself to her as a blue-eyed

suitor offering a box of chocolates.

Perhaps death was the only heart-

shaped box she yearned for, homage

to her feckless smile, the radio playing

Benny Goodman songs, while she

washed dishes in the sink and danced

dreaming her silver-sequined dress.