Bill Tyne CC
Please understand, I have helped to plan
my parents' funerals though they are both alive.
Please understand, I was named for an orphan
in a mystery and my mother said most of us
become orphans anyway (I remember how
she turned her face to my father’s shoulder
when she told us her mother had died).
Please understand, I’ve been writing
my last wishes on gum wrappers
Please understand, I cannot imagine when
I’m the orphan of a mystery with no
shoulder to turn my face to. The idea
fills my throat with pennies so I
turn the page on that thought.
Please understand, I’ve been dropping the clues
to my own death like breadcrumbs
to be eaten by the birds.
Please understand, I call my mother every day
so she knows I’m still here and we
silently go about our tasks connected.
by 5G till one of us hangs up.
Please understand, time pauses between us,
I’m using it to disguise my insomnia.
Please understand, my mother is 2000 miles away
and I need a mother today.
Please understand, I made her promise
she would never die.
Please understand, I made myself
It is a family gift. We
are gardens. Our bodies
grow blossoms for surgeons
to trim or poisons to beat back.
Surgeons trim our branches,
deadhead our roses before
we bring ourselves inside
for winter. We go on. The blossoms
spread their pollen through the summer.
Nothing lasts forever.
Hilary Brown is an award-winning poet and queer disability rights advocate in Chicago. Their chapbook, When She Woke She Was an Open Field (2017), is available from Headmistress Press. Other work can be found in Queerly, APT, The South Carolina Review, The Ocotillo Review, Still Living the Edges: a Disabled Women's Reader, and elsewhere. They have enjoyed the opportunities and education that have come with being a 2022 Zoeglossia Fellow.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.