To the Friend Who Sent Me Goodwill Forks as a Gift

Lisa Fay Coutley  

I’m not embarrassed to live alone

with my three mismatched forks.

I’m not sorry you had to wash one

to eat the omelet I fried for you.

I want you to wait until your son

is asleep, then quiet into his room

to his bed’s edge & try to see him

without that cosmic nightlight

inside him, in a now that does not

involve you. As they do, my sons

outgrew me & the home-cooked

meals I might throw in their faces

for the way a single mother grinds

her teeth to pieces in broken sleep.

I’m breath locked behind wiredrawn

ribs. The dark welt of alone. Blemish

even to women like you who believe

they know what going it alone means.

Co-parenting. I keep waiting for

this dark fist in my chest to pearl.

I could be baptized a second time

just to let someone hold my weight.

God, how we ruin you with words,

though we like the rhyme of saying

meth den or meth head in theory

even if I’m cursed to see a hive

of bodies pulsating around the same

hanging dime. You cannot possibly

dream there’ll be a time when you will

be asked to wrap your spare silverware

& mail it to your son in his new city,

his new place, his new him, the sweet

smell of yellow smoke the only warm

blanket around his shaking frame.


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