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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