The bluest fabric surrounds your head.
If you strut your dark halo
you fear Allah will never
If you leave the color of the ocean on your hair,
people will shrink from you, and the
dried leaf whispering of women will say
you allow men to put their foot
on your throat.
Either way you choose, they will
find you wrong.
NEW HAMPSHIRE, OHIO
Husks pull free to reveal
silk and yellow ears.
Pinned to the line,
clothes breathe with
the in and out of
each gust of wind.
This evening, our grandmother falls
and turns the cellar steps red,
a glass jar in her hand
to capture the liquid
glow of fireflies.
Each day, backhoes, like
crunch the bones of homes.
Garage burning has become
a rite of passage.
Children zip on tricycles past the
yellow blooms of caution tapes
and used condoms
are the new spring dandelions.
What were you thinking
when you fell in the group home?
Certainly not that your
endoskeleton might shatter, a burst
of china upon a kitchen floor.
With care, the surgeons knitted
together your mineralized bone with
metal screws. Your skin is stapled
and sewn together.
You will live then with me
until you learn to walk again—
although going through TSA
will never be a good idea.
Before bathing, my children
molt useless skin of shorts, T-shirts,
superhero underwear and grimy socks.
They catapult themselves into
an enamel ocean,
where they will be submarines
diving deep and rising;
their eyes like periscopes peer
over the tub.
I sit on my throne and plot my revenge—
an early bedtime, where I will sit on the deck,
drink in the night and listen for their breathing.
Amy Jomantas works with families and youth and their voices inspire some of her poetry. She lives in Dayton, Ohio, writes grants, and is working on a novel.
Featured Image photograph by E.B. Bartels, www.ebbartels.com.