Number 7

There were the stairs,

just outside of the apartment complex.

I sat there with the day,

listening to the wind complain about the world.


There were palm trees with leang trunks

that looked like plates stacked on top of each other.

There was the sky

that looked like paper that had been erased

with a bad eraser.


There was a cold and barren feeling

within me, throughout the sky,

the wind too;

it brushed up along my thigh and the trees

just to bring chills and go on its way.


There was my mother

who was inside her apartment

with her kids.

I played double dutch with my thumbs and

reminded myself over and over again

“I don't live here. I can't live here. I don't want to live here.”


There was me walking inside

with my only invitation being

“make sure you

shut my got damn door.”

As if I'd send that invitation to the neighborhood.


There was the door

slamming shut sealing me inside.


There was this one time I brought

a girlfriend home. Heather Hughes:

ginger, red freckles and hair and lips.

Her warm hand held on tighter

to mine as if to say

“I'm sorry she speaks to you that way.”

I in return gave her a “I should be used to this

by now” squeeze.


There was still not enough furniture

for her to have been living here for

three years.

She kept loads of decorating and D.I.Y. magazines

in her room and  bathrooms, though.

Always inspired, but always so "got damn tired"


There were lonely walls,

unless you count the small thumb prints

for company.


There were two red arm chairs

with lumpy cushions,

where frequent strangers would sit,

spill stuff and gossip.


There was this one time

when my mom was gossiping

about the girl down the street

who couldn't find a man,

and I wanted to say, “but

isn't that the reason all of us

have different dads?

Because you can't find one either?”


There was a stain on the left arm

of the armchair closest to the bar

with no bar stools.


There were ceiling fans

loaded with dust.

There was a stereo system that made the walls vibrate

when the volume was turned up to its maximum.

The 50 inch HDTV glistened

and smiled as it hung on the wall

like a trophy.


There was mud brown carpet.

There were windows, big windows.

There were three small rooms.

There wasn't much food.

Well, there was food only at the beginning of the month

when there was food stamps and money.

There were food stamps being sold for money.

There was stuff being bought that no one ever saw.


Then there was this woman,

my mother.

There were seven children.


There was the time when she was pregnant

with seven,

“I think I'm going to get an abortion.” she says.

I told her if she did, I wouldn't speak to her again.


For number seven,

the consequences of being his mother's seed

would not succeed until he began to try

to understand life.


There was no 'I hate you'

disguised as 'I love you'.

Number seven was never to go without

anything, including food because there was a breast.


There was Seagram's gin, her favorite.

She'd inhale that poison.


Dive in it,

her swimming pool of oblivion and drunkenness.

Staggering to nurse the screeching child

and dissolve his anger. Hoping he'd fall asleep.

And he would.

Sucking and coddling his mother as she pumped

her sticky gin breast milk into his

O shaped hungry mouth.

He sucked and sucked

until, there he was



There was number seven waking up

in the midst of this intoxication.

Waddling and warm,

bloated cheeks and stomach.


There was mother, smiling.

There was number seven looking up at her,

holding on to her

and her breast

and crying for more. 

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