My husband shared his cigarettes with me + so when I die
I do with lungs like eggplants. My floral dress snapped at the waist because
I have the finest shape in Massillon. Eyes like dandelions.
I’ve never been afraid of sugar. String bean cans in factories,
Paper cups of grocery wine. My mother so
Far away I sometimes lose her name.
At the factory my hands play the conveyor like a piano.
I game the clock,
Recite prayers. The best holiest mother we share a name.
Like her I have a favorite son. Tiny pink roses. Trees dripping unripe limes.
My math teacher said I am the best of my sisters.
His hand covering mine on the quadratic solution.
Softening my mouth with the tip of a pink eraser.
I never thought I’d have a daughter + I never did.
Bethlehem is not so far away my teacher said. He draws my hand across
I once drank too quickly from an aluminum can
The sugar crowded my mind + I woke on the kitchen floor
My son dropped to the tile. I had a bruise on my temple the women
At mass turned away from. I hit him with nothing, my son, I hit him with nothing.
When I get lost in the city my sister slaps me.
A cigarette rigid in her red mouth.
I forget the man she’s writing to
I am not as lost as my sister thinks I am
I soothed my son with unstoppered
Cold medicine. I take a bus to church +
Pray for the tomatoes in the backyard. Mary is a friend of mine
I am the shaking city inside me, God I am the finally quiet son.
- City with Imogen Inside - September 9, 2019