Mother, I have been devastated all my life. I never said anything.
That’s why I wear a parachute. Why I tiptoed from my bedroom
to yours, and lay my head on the beige carpet for fear of worse.
Were there sirens? There were. Were there familiar songs? Yes.
I am afraid of the beds I have been in. In the morning there was
the heel of your boot sharper than before. Mother, what do I do
with your mail? Do you want to keep this snake in the basement?
What about the kitten? Do you want all these photographs of other
people’s children? The temperature in the lizard’s cage is dropping.
Let’s be realistic. If I open the windows the birds will come in and
eat out the eyes. Mother, I am bereft. Mother, I wear your necklace
and nothing else. Mother, I never. Nevermind. Let’s be fatalistic.
The neighbors know I’m down here. I can hear them watching.
Mother, after they take your eyes I will sew the lids myself.
Leigh Stein, “Marooned” from Dispatch from the Future. Copyright © 2012 by Leigh Stein. Reprinted by permission of Melville House.
Source: Dispatch from the Future
(Melville House, 2012)