The mother’s death wish

disguised as longing

for heaven the limp plastic hat

she kept folded

in her purse in case of rain

or worse the high-pitched songs

children’s toys sing

la la if you touch me

I will laugh uncontrollable

so long you worry I be

laughing at you or something

darker the quick and violent caress

of the electronic carving knife

its kiss along the broad cheek

of holiday meat this be

the world in which everyone

gets born gets to die

my skin takes the light

I don’t know where it goes 

Mary said I say my toes

release a certain slant of heat

when they rise from the bath

they be the heads of ten

sorry plank walkers bobbing

toward the drain

it be Saturday

the bathroom the scent 

of simulated garden

while outside sidewalks

hedged in gates of brown snow

get peppered heavy in a false hail

of salt when we die we go

into earth or into water

or into fire the moon used to be

a lot closer when I be a much

younger thing I would crawl

naked across my bedroom floor

toward the beast of my own reflection

with this look in my eye like

I’ve got you now 

 

 

 

MRB Chelko is the recipient of a 2013 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship for Manhattations. Her work has appeared in numerous chapbooks and journals – current and forthcoming publications include: Anti-, Birdfeast, Poetry International, Revolver, Vinyl Poetry, and Washington Square Review.  Chelko holds an MFA in Poetry from The University of New Hampshire. She lives in Central Harlem.

Photo by Sebastien Tabuteaud, distributed under Creative Commons.

Filed under: Poetry

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