Kicking Back The Blues
Mom sips from a can of beer
after cleaning out more boxes
of the dead.
The waxy cold of Dad’s forehead
still hot on her lips.
Her face is filled with things
that are missing. Questions,
attaching themselves like leeches,
pull her into a place
I refuse to go.
I am dancin’.
Jump-glidin’ across the kitchen,
while a picture of an old man,
praying over a bowl of soup and
thick bread, looks down on her.
This here’s a laughin’ dance
that pulls Mom to the floor.
We are two wild hens flappin’
our wings, tryin’ to lift
unexpected blues, that
memory sometimes plays.
We are in Swing Time, the funky
chicken days, reachin’ way back
to Johnnie Otis, Willie and the Hand Jive.
Way back to the safety of warmed milk
poured over a piece of cornbread.
Back to ancient footwork accustomed
to dust, sticks, fireside validations.
Before we knew men and sex.
When we were pillars rising above the
heap of our fractured lives.
Mom sits down.
Rubs the loose skin on her arms.
Tells me how she misses having
Dad here to share her dinners.
That he might still be with us,
if he had only listened.
I keep dancing.
My feet movin’ like a metronome,
beating our wounds into the floor.
Trying to kick back the blues that
peels her open. Pouring her
seeded flesh into my mouth,
until exhaustion makes us fall
on top of beds still warm from
the heat of the day; until our
anger dies in the month of
gypsies, when Jesus followed
falling stars, waiting to
be born again.