Tzef Pine CC
All of Our Recoveries
My father is sweeping moss off the roof when I come home. There is a leak in our house:
once every few years, one of us takes a shower and water pours
through the ceiling of the room below. I suppose it could be the work of the moss,
that which keeps low to ground and spreads its thousand hands across
the shingles. Not unlikely a finger caught hold of our pipes.
My mother no longer calls me when my brother relapses.
I no longer leave the bar patrons unattended
in front of the wall of Johnny Walker, Tito’s and Sapphire reflecting their faces, no longer
listen to her voicemails in the bathroom, just in case it’s about him again.
After a while, these moments stop feeling like something has happened:
more, like we just pulled out our winter jackets from the basement
so we can go out in the snow. Each time--still--I feel
a sudden ocean between us. The bodies of my family become invisible behind moon-
light fracturing over water. My face is wet. It became so without my
knowledge or consent.
And yet: even in the dark, where my feet don’t touch, and liquid presses its hunger
against my skin, I feel him treading water.
I see his neck encircled by pools of fluid silver, as if it wishes to caress the air from
his throat. And so I push toward him, because
I need to tell him that today I picked herbs from our Dad’s garden to dry and my hands
still smell like sage. I need to tell him that our father is still too soft-hearted
with the plants:
he lets them grow wherever they would like.
The more ambitious ones are leaving their wooden corpses out in the winter,
scattered among the snow, like children too lazy to put their toys away.
I don’t know when my brother will be home next. He needs to know.
Clara is a Midwest poet who grew up on occupied Chippewa and Ottawa land. She is a graduate of Grinnell College's English department, and her work has been featured in The Normal School, Heavy Feather Review, The Shallow Ends, Rust + Moth, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and Paperbark Literary Magazine. Clara is a lover of queer theory and freshwater. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @mid_west_dad.
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