THE THINGS THAT MOTHER SAID
If venetian blinds hung crooked,
or dishes lay piled in the sink,
if empty shoes sat strewn around the floor,
mother would say
Place looks like a niggershack.
It wasn’t, of course. It was ourshack.
Ventriloquist of doom, her voice
still follows me through unkempt rooms,
and I have to bite my wooden tongue
to silence her in the ground
where satin must sag sloppily now
inside her casketshack.
—from Rattle #39, Spring 2013
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