In July sun and burgundy car, I breathe 1985 in 11 year lungs, riding in silence. In our grief we bump against each other. This is kindling. This is dry wood. There is fire to burn.
She has misplaced a son she never knew. And despite having his location, can never seem to find him in the face that answers the door.
I am not aware that I have died—have stopped breathing—but she can smell decay. And so she keeps her eyes on the road, driving with a cadaver in her car.
We are leaving the home of brother (which is odd to say of the homeless man who squats in her benevolence, warmed by her guilt). He is blood and blackness, ire and catastrophe, a runaway who did not go far enough to be unfound. She has given him groceries, bedsheets, silverware, and frozen food. Nursed at the same well, we are Cain and Abel.
I am Abel unable, living dead remnant of the sunny day drive.
At the light, a question:
Does it bother you that I do things for your brother? Some children need more than others.
I am still answering her grief, her guilt, speaking now to her grave.
We are leaving the home of brother. And I am beginning to marvel the wisdom of mothers who take their sons on family outings to men who molest.
A few days after her funeral, I suffocate in questions.
Well-meaning kin with soft sad face asks:
How’s your health? Your mother told me about your “situation.”
I am splayed about in an audience, all aware of things no one else should know.
This is kin(dling) un-kin(d). This is how mothers truly die. This is the fire to burn it all down.
Mother loved me.
Mother loved me so much she poured my poisonblood into chalices for stranger-kin to drink.
Eyeing my blood on their lips,
I am compromised.
Mother loved me so much: She divulged poisonblood secret of (Un)Abel while shielding Cain’s predilection for babyflesh and pleasure,
the insatiable hunger for innocence in the night he so often washed down with
liquid fear and ruin. He is courier of shame and disruption.
Mother carried violence underground and gave it back to the earth.
Now it grows all around me like vine.
I am trellised body and strangle-brain. The sap of its fruit smells to me like his leaking member. My wordless mouth is once again full of him.
I am burying my head in the earth.
I am reconsidering love.
I am wondering what protection looks like.
I am wondering what can mothers really love
beyond the borders of their own pursuits
to fix broken things.
I am wondering what brokenness looks like
I am riding in summer sun to nowhere.
I can never go home.
I can never get out of the car
and no one will carry me.
I am Abel on his way out of womb
grabbed by the soul
pulled back to darkness
where my mother will not push me out
and there is nowhere to plant my feet.
I am the slain son
bleeding on his mothers breast
long after she has gone to the grave.