What happened after I read Nothing Gold Can Stay

My mom asked me how you are. She didn’t look up

from the stiff sound of her sponge bleaching the trashcan

she was bent over

in the kitchen. Strands of hair the same shade as mine

were twitching at odd angles because she was scrubbing

so hard. I didn’t tell her

I tripped on my way home, because my knees

evaporated, because I was on them for a half hour.

I didn’t tell her that there are scarlet bruises on the

wet flesh of the back of my throat, right where the nurse shines

her slender little

light when I have a cough, right where I marooned all the things I wanted

to shout at you. I didn’t tell her you were

still hard when I left, and how it made me feel

like a failure, and how my shirt needed to be washed soon

or the crusted pools of snot and salt

would never come

out of my sleeves. She just kept purging the kitchen

and my dad kept inspecting his

stocks and my brother kept conjugating Spanish verbs

and I kept listening to the splashing sounds

of my vomit bouncing off the rim of the toilet.

 

I told my mom you were good, and I flushed the toilet, and I stared

at the crack in my wall because it reminded me of

a mockingbird feather.

 

 

Guide that inspired this poem: 

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