November 27, 2011

Stacie Primeaux

RELIC

My son is not as enchanted with me
as he used to be. He’s begun to shrug my limbs off
snuff out my kisses, though I tell him
he’s only rubbing them in

I’m sauce-spattered as the kitchen
stove. I smell like stale wisdom and hard watermarks
My boot scuffs sound decades of stumble and somewhere
he must’ve noticed this, indecision
stuck between the teeth, self-doubt dirty dress hem

I’ve hoarded a certain memory from him
behind a stone he’s too small
to push over; a night of treason and injustice
where I caught his father
skipping bedtime story pages in haste
His dog-eared face, the stars sobbed
with my scalded boy, and all apologies
were slung from the balcony

He whimpered like a rusty swing set
as I lay in the next room, all glory and grace
a bruised-bitten tongue hid
I feigned sound and stately and maybe
this was the moment, the peak
where his tiny voice pleaded under the threshold
“Oh Mama, don’t marry Daddy. Marry me.”

I was pioneered, my summit laid claim to
He takes the view for granted now
And I squirrel away my stories for winters
like these to dangle before him.
See, boy. I never skipped a page.

from Rattle #25, Summer 2006
2007 Neil Postman Award Honorable Mention