6.05 / May 2011

Portrait of a Dead Mother

listen to this poem
I thought I saw my mother
laying in the road with those death
chalk lines around her.
Some kids were kicking a ball
around her.
I heard a teenager laugh
around her.
I thought about shouting in his face
but I had to see her face,
look into her eyes
see the reflection of who
did this to my dear mother.
She was looking down
the road away from everyone,
wasn’t wearing a shirt.
Her stomach was a color
I’d never seen.
But, those pants-worn, elastic, purple-
had to be my mother’s worn, elastic,
purple pants.
I kept stepping closer
closer
closer.
A cop touched my chest
saying, “Son.”
And I yelled,
“No, I am not your son.
I am her son.”
He let go.
I gripped her cheeks
and rolled her head
towards mine.
Turns out, I saw someone else’s mother
laying in the road with those death
chalk lines around her.

Tyler Gobble is the chapbook editor for Magic Helicopter Press and the host of the Everything Is Bigger reading series in Austin, TX. His first full-length will plop from Coconut Books in the fall. More at tylergobble.com.
6.05 / May 2011

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