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From "Winter: Aphorisms".

FROM "WINTER: APHORISMS

   A pirate's sword is not a cypress, but a cutlass. Can you say
     cutlass?
   Take out your pacifier and say cutlass.

   Ho-me. Ho-me. Ho-me. Ho-me. Mama, you ho-me?
   I can't hold you right now, sweetheart. Mama's writing.

   ok.

   I ok. ok, sweetie. I ok. ok.

   Mama, kiiih? Of course I'll kiss you, sweetheart.

   Mama? Mama? Mama? I ok. ok.

   Mama? Mama? Mama? Mama? Mama?

   The older one speaks. The younger
   is in the threshold of words: of
   consequence. The slapped cheek
   when he takes his older brother's
   light saber. The crash if he walks
   in front of the swing.

   There are reasons to cry. Reasons to break, to be
   bowled over with the loss, such as: we are living in the forest

   as it dies. We watch the trucks

   leave our valley each day, filled with the bodies of trees.
   Harrowing relentless across earth.

   And other bodies around us.
   Touching one another

   increasingly. Steadily to know--bodies
   of all our knowing

   and then of our forgetting. Our sons. Each other.

   Have we loved across the inconceivable
   time and distance, across bodies we are told

   we cannot know.

   Mama, Mateo has one of your special medicines.

   Looking out of the shower: Mateo, will you put that tampon back,
     sweetie?

   Why?

   It doesn't taste yummy.

   Oh! Not yummy! He puts it back on the counter.

   No, Mateo, it's not yummy--it's Mama's, and it doesn't taste yummy.

   Pulls the shower curtain back: Mama it's not yummy!

   Memory drilled
   into the sternum: my baby taps me there, says: Mama.
   Says: nuh, nuh. He means:
   nurse. He means: nurse the demanding
   memory outside of oneself. He means: get

   outside the house. Outside in the rain
   drive yourself, Mama, in or out, Mama,

   of the drive of the rain. He means: give.
   He means: get. He means: unstopping.

   In the middle of the night the baby smack-smacks my breast,
      yells nuh.
   I ignore him. I roll away. He crawls over me to get again

   to the breast-side, still mostly asleep, himself.

   Smack-smack-nuh. Smack-smack-nuh. We are both almost
      asleep again

   without nursing. When from the silence he yells, mostly asleep,

   NOW!! Slaps me across the face. And then we do sleep.

   Holding oneself in right relation
   to the gallery of living and breathing commotion: there is,
      perhaps, nothing

   more holy to me than this snow falling at night.

   Snow and my children. Or, shamelessly, the trees holding themselves
   aloof from the snow-covered ground until bending, bending,

   broken at it.
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Article Details
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Author:Vap, Sarah
Publication:Colorado Review: A Journal of Contemporary Literature
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jun 22, 2013
Words:414
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