You Ask Me About My Mother

so I tell you how she slammed
the trunk of our Toyota on my neck
when I was three and wandering
and she was in a rush for groceries.
No harm was done, I say, and so you laugh,
and I laugh, as does my mom
each time she hears me tell my story
which isn’t mine, of course, but hers—
my brain back then a roil of loose ends,
a squall within which stories wouldn’t last
unless she lashed them there: the scene,
the thud and wail, the nightmare snap
that might have been, the unexpected ways
that terror rises from its resting place
beneath. All these she offered me,
wrapped within her story and her laugh,
the laugh which smoothed the knots
and fused the sea
inside me.






First published in Smoothing the Holy Surfaces (Alfred Gustav Press, 2012).

Read more poems from Strangers.