Poetry | September 01, 1997


That night, Lily and her mother

are home alone. Tom has gone

to play poker with Ivan

and the men. Gloria knows

Ivan will clean him out,

but has said nothing.


After TV, Lily goes upstairs

with her mother—it’s time

to get ready for bed.

Gloria stands in the closet

while she undresses. As she talks to the girl,

each word lands

in an empty future.


Snow falls

outside the window.

Lily watches it fly

past the moon as she lies perched

on her parents’ bed. The flakes

are like picked flowers—

fleeting, rootless.

How sad, she thinks,

but then she glimpses

her mother’s dark,

twisted body turning

in the closet. Her torso

is a deep root; bitter,

strong. Nothing can pull her

from this earth,

or so it seems, and for this alone,

Lily loves her.

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