When God and You Were Mine

Diana Marie Delgado

Beneath a Chinese Elm, next to the pink

open claw of a geranium, the buttons

on his arm lie down on a grass blanket

and drink from a silver straw that registers

all the bad weather in the world.

I work at K-Mart and love it; paid in cash,

the intimacy scares the shit out of me.

Dad gets fucked up and sleeps

behind the library like a bird of paradise.

On Sundays, the sea is poured into paper

cups and the telephones hang from the wall

like speared fish. I piece voices together,

wrap them around like a necklace.

Outside, love melts like dirtied snow

while brother, Mom’s sad alter-ego,

waits on a couch for probation officers.

I don’t give off that much light anymore,

and the sparrows have gone underground.

Two brothers drove to the wooden rails

of the desert to smoke crack and line

the world with their aluminum truth.

The bonds of horses. The platitudes of men.

The light at these parties is dim

and a guy I’ve had a crush on for a million years

kisses me in his bed. I take off my shirt,

pretend to lie in the sand, be part-ocean,

first snow, like I’ve been given a candy cigarette.

That’s the summer mom had a piece of her

taken out, then came home and baked a turkey.

On her car dashboard, a photograph

of her son doing life in prison.

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