The Orphan: A Poem

Mother, you are my dream scroll
drifting in the tight neck of a bottle
floating a sea frozen by death.
Its vault a box I cannot open
with a single pair of hands.
My hair frizzed by
sedatives of words
latching on the figurative—
when I needed you
to comb its beaches with
unchipped shells of fingertips
now buried beyond
a memory’s reach.

Father is kind, so generous
at wallet time, a Noah’s Ark
when storms of knives
threaten motion’s apple core.
He sponsors conferences of strength,
mugging rapists of my fate.
I tap him, questioning
the unsaid and the sacred,
but the keg is dry.
My arms are tired and muscles
lean toward atrophy.
The wait, a noose on creaking
scaffolds of the years.

The wish to know you—
tumor brewing underneath
the stitches of a tragedy.
I wonder what my stanzas mean.
Hang them in a closet’s darkness,
hoping wrinkles shake out
creases ironed in.
My strange skin, this quilt of art,
a tapestry that has no roots.

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