“Relic” by Stacie Primeaux

Stacie Primeaux


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

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