MY MOTHER, DISSOLVING
Her hair’s gone white and she’s incontinent:
the bed now hides a paper tablecloth
under the sheet. Where the new dresses went
after Christmas? She can’t say; she drifts off
fingering the old stained rag she wears, lies,
avoids my eyes. Ankles gone now, walking
so painful that I feel guilty to try
taking her out of the bar, we’re talking
about nothing. She turns; the bottle cries out
to her and she cries back, dark whiskey tears,
coming home what my visit isn’t about
now, the stories she told these last few years,
all happy ever after at the end,
all false, all fake, again.
You were the orange horizon, brightening.
You brought me back to my own multitude of stars.
You were the red bird singing in my rain.
You fashioned me new bones to fit my spine.
You were the sun I carried in my pocket.
Yours was the voice that stopped mine trembling.
You brought me so far back to sparkling laughter,
stood far enough away to let me stretch,
reach toward the scent of dewy grass in morning,
deep lungfuls of life I forgot had always belonged
to me. Just the thought of your mouth
on mine reminded me to breathe. You were
the black storm that drove me, the bright
lightning, the forgiving breeze that dried
my tears. You were the solid body I dreamed of
when I woke holding only myself. You
were the sting and stamina in my fight, the promise
returning after every bitter, vicious night.
You saw through me. You knew just what I was.
What I could be again. And you were right.
Kasandra Larsen is an accountant who recently took 3 years off from writing to finish her degree and pass her CPA exams. She lives and works in New Orleans. She has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize and was most recently in Best New Poets 2012. Her chapbook, Stellar Telegram, won the 2009 Sheltering Pines Press prize. She is currently working on a full-length poetry manuscript.