Salt
I cannot remember what I’ve done, but my mother is crying again
and it is out of her hands. Modest houses are generating
squares of light, a shallow light that is not there. I am moving
 
the corner of the curtain back, waiting, and watching the first snow fall.
The earth, its gray fences, the slack weight of tilting telephone poles, 
that earth, the one that should have been, is not there.
 
Just my father then returning, his body blue in the easy moon, 
first and last the man, his footprints filling with big flowers, and
their broken petals lie behind his awkward but certain way. 
 
It would be the first night my father beat me. He might have lost 
a wager at the bar to a man in a suit. I do not know. But I remember 
opening the door, stepping through, barefoot, to the untouched
 
powder on the porch, a straining engine down the street, a jangle of weak keys. 
In those days, I walked frequently outside of fate, but I could not 
have known that then, meandering through the heaven of my either/or. 
 
I could not have known before he slapped me, and before the hands 
then clenched, or before my head would buck and fall, as my teeth 
were freed from speech, as my eye would flame from wax 
 
and then to wax again, or before my nose, in the end, would break 
into the beautiful thing. I could not have known my body was more 
than a small sparse room of unsung leaves. More solid than that air, 
 
but less, solid like water, like ice melting behind the salt truck, this was 
his shame of me, and how could I blame him? My voice vanished, 
my mouth stuffed with frozen blood, and just the ringing of his fist 
 
under the single myth of the stolen stars. I could not go away for him
and I think, that is when he stopped, when cried not I the flowers under snow.
Nothing could have killed me then, though his other son was dead now a month,
 
a warm month, and though this night my father would simply pass, 
just as he would pass all nights, without a violent hand upon me, 
quiet as the clear sky, in the time when I could begin,

regardless of the specific nothingness and all invention’s else.
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