The Tale

Mom swallows the truth

until her stomach is fat

and belches up

something green

with a voice.


She died once, or twice,

in a music-filled dream

about hospital halls.

Her fat black kidneys

wouldn’t support Her,

so I pulled Her along

by Her hair.


It was the street wisdom

of cockroach friends

and the man who split my sister.

The black dream: empty boxes

filled with stuffing and wrapped.

His joy came from opening

without concern.


My sister left in the corner on boxes

flattened into a mattress and a stain.

It was only a little blood,

Mom told my sister

so She could sleep. This act


is messy. Papers everywhere

like discarded leaves spread out

on wet pavement. The way Her smile

lingers and stories hiss through

the small space between teeth.

Mom only speaks at night.


She says it is just my sister’s story.

Rape don’t occur in the day. Bugs

don’t bite until dusk, when the moon

wakes them.