Monday, January 12, 2009

Hold Me Steady

Amid the rotting carpet, the dust seeped into pores
of the floor where boys have passed out
after nights of drinking cheap beer, the floor where
a mother paced back and forth
carrying the firewood
her flannel gown twisting around her young calves
crying without restraint.
Fire pops in the woodstove, so
now lonely always smells like flame
to me, feels hot in my chest and the soles
of my feet.
I walked two miles after school in the rain
in the cold
wishing Mom could drive me home
my feet frozen solid when I made it through the door
called her on the phone
for what it’s worth.
The hot belly of the stove burned through
my wooly socks, lying there
along the body of a floor that has known prayers and
dancing, stretched
against the solid girth of what
will not move
this hard earth
a floor
that never shifts.

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