I enter her haven, a bedroom fitted to remind one of:
An egg, a cradle, a mother’s womb.
Warmth of candle-glow, hanging drapes above,
Tasseled and frilled, soft bedspread on which blooms:
Rose-patterned silk like featherdown, gentle as love.
What care she has adorned her sanctuary with.
The mattress sinks beneath us, as she sinks into me,
Exhaling nicotine, the smoke dances in the cataracts of her hollow eyes,
In acrid mimicry of the light of life, it sets her free,
From all that watches from beyond the circle of my arms, that lies,
In wait, for my baby girl, and for her baby,
And exacts this terrible vacancy on us, as she flees yet further.
In these moments, I think of you.
You, who I have not met outside waking dreams. You, who have no face.
I think of the gun in the desk, and wonder if boiling blood would provide courage enough, to do
The thing that won’t lift the beer from her breath, or resurrect the strength of her embrace,
Or keep her from being forever a child in a woman’s body, or build anew
The home that I made in her, that you vandalized and burned to the ground.
I think of you, the nameless man who came and stole and left, and this thing that will never be,
For you continue to pervade us like the foulness of cigarette-reek,
That cannot be washed from clothing. So, whatever I plot, whatever I plea,
Whatever words we summon the strength to speak,
There is nothing that will make me a child again, and nothing that will restore her from infancy,
My broken baby. My beloved. My mama.