She Said Yes

Mother Tells Me the Morning After the Funeral


I poked the place that turns him when he snores. No rustling.

No resistance. Just air. My hand sunk to the sheet.



Mother Sets to Move Out the Clothes Right After


I need us to finish before you leave. Sort in wafts of Old Spice.

Pull pills out of pockets. A bottle out of hip boots.  Decide what goes where.



Mother Wants Me to Take It Away


Take the bedroom TV to your aunt. I don’t want to wake up

with it on and think he might be watching.



My Little Cousin Asks While We Watch Cartoons


How come Road Runner never gets hurt? What does beep, beep mean?

Why does no one cry?



My Brother Explains the Bullets


He always said keep it clean so you won’t have an accident. Yelled

the time I came back without the safety on, even though I had no bullets. Mother said don’t keep any here. But I like to show my friends so I hide ’em in the cleaning kit.



Mother Thanks Me for Being a Helper


You were four when you asked if your daddy was drunk. I said yes.

You went and cleaned up your room.



Mother Tells the Legacy While Boxing Up Clothes


I can’t imagine what he was thinking to use that rifle. Everyone,
everyone looked up to your great-grandfather as a good man. Lived
long enough to teach a fourth generation to shoot straight. That rifle
was passing on pride to a son. We need more boxes from the store. And milk.

In paperback edition of Opening the Mouth of the Dead

Published in RiverSedge