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family therapy

May 21, 2015


I am watching a mother and her son

the mother has left the father

and her colors are always shifting

for a moment she is summer blue

her hands, palms down,

look as though they are kneading air

as though she is laying her words

on the shore

of her son’s ocean heart

he tries to speak

but she is already running ahead

her eyes spill glass tears

and her whole body shakes

red, blood red, merlot red, fire orange,

sunset orange, slivers of black and coal

her son plays with his zipper

zip up zip down

zip up zip down

while she loses herself in rage

turns white with it

until her organs burn

and her body contracts, empty

she faces him, moist-cheeked,

and folds herself into his chest

his arms are stiff

in the shadow of her formless form

he avoids my eyes

the fingers of his right hand

are already

turning to stone.


but I don’t only watch

the mother and her son

my task is to save them

from this fate

immersed in the mother’s

thick oozing voice

my own mother comes

with her woven pendant

of silver, copper, silk

and places it at the center

of my chest

the breath slides invisible

gathers and spins

its heavy web

in the pendant

a tiny voice unwinds

sinks down

as if the mother’s presence

is a lake

and the voice is a pebble

meaning, I lay my lotus palms

on the floor

and hold space for

fragments of spattered truths

the mother is tangled

in her worn-out stories

the son, silent, and

I am stuck at the cliff’s edge

where my mother’s soul

meets my own

you’re hurt,

I say to the boy’s mother

it seems the only thing

to say in this room

poisoned with words

or maybe it is all

I have the courage to say.


From → poetry

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