this is the one time you
will ever see your mother cry,
so pay attention

six, seven months pregnant and just the
two of you in the house,
and the wooded lot just across the street

the laughter and the whistles, the idea of rape tossed out lightly like
a dove from open hands
rocks thrown from behind the trees and bushes and
then the sound they make against the
side of the house, against the living room window,
and where are the neighbors?

why is there no passing traffic?

not today

and she stands just to the side of the glass,
behind the curtains,
and do you remember being ignored?

do you wonder why you never
wondered where your father was?

why this is all only told
from your own limited point of view?

and then there they are, no warning,
the tears,
silent and luminous and maybe
your breath catches in your throat

maybe your heart misses a beat

and you stay where you are,
and you watch

you remember everything about this moment,
but you forget growing up

bits and pieces, sure, but
the bigger picture is blurred, is ripped and torn,
pages missing, images distorted, and
does the moment end?

it must, because here you are
all these wasted years later, children of
your own and a whole net set of fears,
but who to ask?

who to tell?

best to keep quiet, to bleed cautiously and
only in darkened rooms

best to get drunk or stoned,
maybe laid, and
best to just bite your tongue

maybe turn the radio up and sing along

stand back out of sight while the
moment is played like a fixed game,
while it stretches and darkens,
while despair continues to build in
the pit of your stomach

this new golden age of elastic time where
nothing ever ends
and all of us are marked

a hand on the doorknob?

a mouth opened up to scream?

the first day of the black hole your
life will inevitably become

John Sweet

John Sweet sends greetings from the rural wastelands of upstate NY. He is a firm believer in writing as catharsis, and in the continuous search for an unattainable and constantly evolving absolute truth. His latest poetry collections include Heathen Tongue (2018 Kendra Steiner Editions) and A Flag on Fire is a Song of Hope (2019 Scars Publications).