He refuses to eat vegetables
from our garden, says nothing
grown half a mile from a steel mill
can be safe. What about me, then?
But I, I refuse to be a real mother.
My body is not a home for anyone
but me and you, and nothing grown
so close to this mind can be safe.
That first summer while digging in the
yard I found a dog skeleton enveloped
in fur, punctuated by sinew, protected
in rest by a proverbial tomb curse.
Was it always that I cannot look
into both his eyes at the same time,
or only since the beginning of After?
When he dies I will wear a memorial
pinch of his ashes around my neck, a
dutiful partner as these leaden puddles
recede from my ankles, the itch of lace
like bees droning beneath my skin.