misses her son, so she mourns
him with whiskey, wine, drinks the river
that runs behind the house dry. The river
that he played in, that he picked chicory
& four leaf clovers by. His hair, wet & chicoried
in the sun. She blows a cloud of smoke, twists
a lemon in her drink. God is twisted
she thinks. Some nights she brings men
home then makes them sleep out on the couch, men
who didn’t know her son. She only wants to feel
again. The ice taps her glass. She wants to feel
her son, wants to touch his hand. Another
drink. It’s late. She knows she has another
boy & he’ll come home. For now, she mourns.
I wish I had a cooler name
like Francis or Beau. I was nearly Willow.
I used to know a girl named Lovely. And she was.
Her parents must have just loved her, Lovely.
I had to grow on mine. I could have been named
Crystal or Ice. Bar-fight, High. Once when I was a baby,
my dad brought me to his new girlfriend’s house
as if to say look what I did. I wonder where
he set me down, near an open cupboard? The table’s
sharp tip? He could have called me Lucky, Dice,
Strip Club, Hit. Pieces of broken glass and bloody
fist. He wanted something biblical and big, so: Hannah.
I could have been Salome or Lazarus. I rise
again, with John the Baptist’s head.
Last night my father sent me a recording
of him singing a song he wrote. The first thing I thought
was I don’t like it. Then I thought about how he must
have set the phone somewhere close to the guitar,
close to his mouth. Atop an old 7-eleven cup filled
with tap water. He clears his throat. The phone is next
to an ashtray, a pack of newports. Two left. He presses record
and watches the red orb that means the phone is listening
and he feels less alone. He memorized the lyrics, they’re his.
Like me. Then, he plays the song through once. He
deletes it because someone in his trailer park calls out
for a lost dog. He yells out the window. It even sounds like music
when he sweeps his feet across the space, back to his desk,
across broken glass and poker chips. He adjusts
the clasp on his necklace, tarnished brass. The song, again.
This time he likes it. I don’t see the email for two
days. I tell him I love it. I wonder if he knows
I’m lying. I wonder if he knows we are the same.
Hannah Schultz is a poet from Southern California, and currently resides in San Francisco. She is an MFA candidate at California State University Long Beach. Her work is published or forthcoming in Slipstream, Cultural Daily, and Neon Door.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.