August 29, 2011

Laura Read

THIS TIME WE’LL GO TO KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN
          for Tom

You were the one with the body
that could balance on a skateboard,
dive into a pool, the water
closing behind you.
And you could hold your breath
at the bottom, watch the sunlight shatter
on the tile.
Your eye marked where to send a ball
and it would hit
the backboard, the mitt—
you could chart a trajectory
from the boy in the doorframe
who stood next to me and looked at our mother
not getting out of bed
after our father died,
his bed made, all the stripes pulled up vertical
under the pillow
where his head would never leave
another dent.
You said, If she dies too,
we’ll go to Kentucky Fried Chicken
not Wendy’s

where we went after the funeral
which you spent driving your matchbox cars
up and down the lines of wood
in the pews, steering the small wheels
around the knots underneath
the soft polish.
You tried to be quiet, but I could hear you
making your car noises
in your throat.

from Rattle #34, Winter 2010
Rattle Poetry Prize Honorable Mention

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