A Thursday in July
Heat index 105 with threat
of severe storms, but I am running
free. I’ve got satellite radio
and a fresh pack of Marlboro Lights,
3 hours, empty
Jeep, open sunroof and 30 miles
between me and a 6 dollar latte
with 2 extra shots of espresso
to undo 10 years
of collateral damage.
They always come back, half
excited to return from the limitless
anarchy of a weekend with you, in part
ready to resettle into my structure.
I unpack their things, put them back
together, and make whole the pieces
of stories I collect, scraps
of conversation repeated without
the censorship of adult-speak. I gather
the forensics: one container
of vitamins not emptied, two
toys not returned, three
bent by perception, skewed.
Such things are fluid, cannot be typed
into the language of a custody
order, which says nothing
to forbid splicing an entire lifetime
into bits of such disunified myth.
I remember being a guest in your house, smoking
in the bathroom while I dried my hair,
the smell filling borrowed space like it owned the place,
cup of coffee delivered and refilled as it cooled,
before my clothes took over the walk-in, my bottles
of gel leaked in the cabinet under the sink, constantly
clogged with a Barbie-head quantity of hair, before
my scent stayed on the sheets and my extra large loads
of laundry crippled your Maytag. It seems so long ago
that I used to store you in my cells, as much of you
as I could hold, highlighted moments on replay
on the drive back to my own
things in my own house, a separate sphere,
another place entirely.
April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. She is working on her first several collections of poetry and a memoir on raising a child with Autism. Her work has appeared in online and print journals such as Poetry Salzburg, Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Rainbow Rose, The Camel Saloon, Bluestem, Centrifugal Eye, Weekenders Magazine, Deadsnakes, Montucky Review, Daily Love, Visceral Uterus, Work to a Calm, Crisis Chronicles, Windmills, and is forthcoming in Inclement and Poetry Quarterly. The author also serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press.