September 2013

What Remains

I.

My favorite across-the-street neighbor
says his sister Sarah only has one eye.
I ask him how he knows when she is winking.
He laughs like a song, doesn’t smile.

He has more teeth than I do
and likes to lie about his cyclopean sister
and who really broke that chair
at the curb on their side of the street.

I lean against the wobbly fence of his front yard,
and he sticks his left thumb through a hole in the wood.
We exchange lies until his Nanny
calls him inside for dinner.

II.

At the old house, the yellow house, Mom is music—
“Sing me ‘Crazy’,” I beg, my eyes wide
as the moon; my irises brown in a blue sky
like a bruise. “Sing me ‘Crazy’,”
I am pleading myself to sleep.

She picked up a guitar to fill an absence,
found it like treasure on the side of the road
where we pick flowers, out of gas,
waiting long for Triple A.
We bring them home
to our new house,
green wire fence.

III.

Mom brings her hammer
to their side of the street, crouches at the curb.
She pulls the nails out of the chair
like pulling a hair from my sweater.

I hold the green wire gate open for her, arms heavy.
She brings in the legs of the chair
long like bones, and scatters
the nails and the bones,
on the coffee table
in our den
like ashes.