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how we tell about where we come from

By Dane BHPublished 2 years ago 2 min read
Photo by Patricia Prudente on Unsplash

My mother hung

by her fingernails from the highest branch

of the crabapple tree and swung,

calling for bones and

cracking curses.

I hurled myself from her body

and executed the first of a thousand

perfect back flips before

landing in a rose bush.

The last time anyone saw my father,

no one heard him speak;

the argument over whether

he was a ghost or a mirage or G-d

ended in six fistfights and a broken bottle of scotch.

But my oldest grandmother

confirmed that he rode two spotted mules

with a foot on each bare back

and carried a knife so sharp he could shave

the dewdrops off of pine needles.

From him, I learned

what a butterfly feels

when a human finger

finds its wing.

My mother clutched at her throat and pounded

fault lines into the ground when she saw my father

walking west towards the sun, and from her arms, my screams

frightened every bird and bat out of Texas.

My father turned back once,

whispered my name.

I carry it

like an untouched lotto ticket.

I’ve watched scrapes and scratches turn to scars

under the balm of my mother’s blasphemies,

watched her weaken like a rotting branch.

I sing her to sleep with my jaw set tight,

feel her sweat through nightmares,

hear her whisper my father’s name in a death rattle.

On nights when the moon is a fading

silver smirk, I climb to the highest limbs

of the crabapple tree

and watch for falling stars.

(I catch the right one,

it might take me to him.)

I gather stories,

hiding them in my ears like a levee

against my mother’s shrieks, or to keep

hope from evaporating like

lake water into black sky.

When I leave,

I’ll need it.

I’ll follow the trails

of dying stars and sort through the stories

of ghosts and mirages

of cursed bones

of crabapple branches

and the promise

of home.

love poems

About the Creator

Dane BH

By day, I'm a cog in the nonprofit machine, and poet. By night, I'm a creature of the internet. My soul is a grumpy cat who'd rather be sleeping.

Top Story count: 14


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