When my mother went crazy,
I left home forever.
How many times must I say
I don’t know you and think
that helps me understand any man.
I’ve fallen in love over less.
It’s not easy to stop struggling
like a caught bird in a tree’s arms.
I don’t know you
and shouldn’t that make me free?
I can’t carry my father’s burden.
I’m not sorry.
I can’t love a landscape
simply because I can trace
it with the back of my eyes.
I’ll never find what I lost.
I’m careful not to want
too much from other people.
I imagine my mother saying,
I’m worried about you and
loving the way that feels.
What some call a point of view,
others call a distortion of light.
It’s possible to fill an entire
home with frost that creeps
under the mere fraction of space
between the floor and doorframe.
An old friends’ disregard inwardly
humiliates our ability to believe
in the depth of compassion.
The result of a long night out—
the swallowing of a whole sun.
Imagine something about the way
artificial elements last twice as long
as anything should. The terrible
smell from the gleaming floor:
She scrubbed just like her
mother—on her hands and knees.
I wonder what other methods
you imagined. You routinely
hear a knock on the front
door, but nobody is ever there.
JEANNE HENRY is a New York City-based poet. Her work has appeared in Prick of the Spindle, Banango Street, The Found Poetry Review and other literary journals. She is currently working on her first full-length collection of poetry. She would love to hear from you on Twitter (@papermaw).
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Issue 7 Playlist