John Brighenti CC
Mother, Superego, When You Died, the World
softly changed shape, altered course
in its unremembering. The sociopaths, freed
to be themselves, released their imprecise meanness,
as the never-internalized superego
ceased to steer the shaky stern.
Their fits done in unison and alone,
on a plane, inside a tin
house or boat, the rage of their grief rocked
waves an average brain
might not fathom. Like the earth, lives shifted a little or a lot,
our incompletenesses unmasked and raffish.
No one could pay
their bills on time, balance a checkbook, make their insurance,
or track the holidays, as you, Grandmother,
were the calendar, the forever-admin of this named family, all stuck
in some time-wrench of our own design. What you skillfully managed
and gave so easily,
replayed in memory and awkward apery.
Yes, all our unfitness laid bare.
When you left, the maples I had planted to fill in
the lightning-torched yard withered in their rings.
But the songbirds continued to sing each morning.
They knew something bigger than grief.
A medieval goldfinch, blooming black and cadmium,
tried to enter through
the glass, and for the first time, I fed the birds,
who clustered hungry at the window feeder,
my winter cronies until the coons and squirrels
moved in on our ritual, leaving glass streaks
and bits of plastic
and seed on the brown mottled ground.
When you left, creepy men in cars parked outside my window.
In the wee morning hours, one beat my door in.
I found beer caps in the grass, at home, and near your grave.
The funeral home sent grief counselors to sell me my own funeral.
I told them I was gifting myself to the buzzards. They never give up.
I still get fliers all these years later.
When you left, your piano did not sing and please
our ears ever again. The cover is still hinged over its ivory keys.
I’m sorry for the dust. It has been years now, yet
I haven’t found a new home.
When you left, your Wednesday friends still met without
you, sadder, but faithful. Each week, one by one, a husband
died, or another friend. I run into one of them now and then.
Edna’s daughter took over her life, moved her grandkids in.
My “lifestyle” didn’t jibe with her daughter, and that was the end
of our friendship. You predicted all of this. Of course,
when you left, the homophobes shed their pretty clothes--
you had always kept them in tow. You made people better.
Your chair at the round oak
table, fifty years north, still
sits empty. I find you in your chili
recipe, your worn black shoes,
in the purple hues, 40s Christmas music,
and in all the things
Find work by Koss in Hobart, Cincinnati Review, Spillway, Diode Poetry, Five Points, Outlook Springs, Lumiere Review, Anti-Heroine Chic, and many others. She also has work in or forthcoming in Best Small Fictions 2020, a Diode anthology, and Kissing Dynamite’s Punk Anthology. Find her on Twitter @Koss51209969 or http://koss-works.com.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.