[listen mother, he punched the air: I am not your son dying]

a stabat mater

listen mother, he punched the air:   I am not your son dying
the day fades and the starlings roost:   a body’s a husk a nest of goodbye

his wrist colorless and soft was not a stick of chewing gum
how tell?    well a plastic bracelet with his name for one.    & no mint
his eyes distinguishable from oysters how?    only when pried open

she at times felt the needle going in.    felt her own sides cave.    she rasped
she twitched with a palsy:   tectonic plates grumbled under her feet

soiled his sheets clogged the yellow BIOHAZARD bin:   later to be burned
soot clouds billowed out over the city:   a stole.    a pillbox hat    [smart city]
and wouldn’t the taxis stop now.    and wouldn’t a hush smother us all

the vascular walls graffitied and scarred.    a clotted rend in the muscle
wend through the avenues throttled t-cells.    processional staph & thrush

the scourge the spike a stab a shending bile the grace the quenching
mother who brought me here, muddler:   open the window.    let birds in

“[listen mother, he punched the air: I am not your son dying]” © 2004 D.A. Powell. Reprinted from Cocktails with the permission of Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Source: Cocktails (Graywolf Press, 2004)