Leslie Adrienne Miller
In my paracosm the mother has died
and heaven is closed until further notice.
She’s going to sit in that chair she hated
and tell us what to do forever;
and whoever left the room that night
stepped on my hip as she went.
The murmur of my father and sister
in the other room was simply cover,
and the last hospice nurse in her sweet
flannels took off her gloves and left
with the body. She’s the one
they send at the end, knowing
as she does, which parts of the body
light out first, and when exactly
the rattle can be expected in a throat.
I wanted more from her than I got,
but I’d already upset the clan
with a request to keep the titanium
shoulder my mother prized
for its ridiculous sum. I’m the one
who always saved her sharpest shards,
but the day will come for me too
when I don’t know how to keep
the borrowed parts in play.
Wounded children, supposedly, make
these paracosms up, people them,
and run them on the battery
of whatever’s left when hope
goes by on the gurney. A father
and his son came themselves at 3 am
to take her, and it was then I got specific:
take her apart before the burn, save
that gleaming ball and hinge for me.
I heard my brother in law say the word
weirdo, but not without affection.
Whatever scrap the artist needs
for the haunch of that mighty horse
in the village square, my mother’s
fancy shoulder will be the perfect fit,
standing against rust and acid rain,
straight line wind and the burning milk
dropped by every stinking bird.