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Flesh for the Weary
by Anne Carly Abad

I am alive, child, Mother is here
but I’ve grown weary
of you.
And so I’ve taken to my deathbed.
Do you remember
your very first word?
You say you do,
but what else
can a child say?
Just a bit of cooing
or diminutives of Father, Mother.
How can you claim to know, enough
to say you’re much too old
for the cradle of your tongue?
You didn’t even know of my decision to die.
       How much easier it was then
       before the first sentence
       of your ancestors; I pure
in their minds, moving them to understand
       with secret gestures of the hand
       a puckering of lips, a summoning hiss—
       codes for only us, parent and child.
       Now, no more.
I am alive, child, Mother is here
but I’ve grown weary
of you
when you weaned yourself
into the tongues of strangers
you claim to know. What sad ignorance,
when I might have had the words you needed.

What happens to a parent
abandoned in her deathbed?
I’ll tell you: she will not quietly go.
Her ghost will lash out, tear off a pound of flesh
from your side. And you’ll be marred
All will know what you’ve done.

© Anne Carly Abad

 

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