In the Morning All of Her Pain

is trying to happen at the top of its voice    

drivers shutting off engines at the bus stop

hanging out their cracked-open doors blue jackets    

this woman too old to be my mother or she’s not

too dressed in a felt hat & cashmere or she isn’t

traffic is backing up along the road now

a small then big crowd making itself up around her body

and she is reaching her fingers right down inside herself

to pull it all up for everyone to see

a botched magic trick

flowers stuck inside her throat

there are things like this I’m worried I can’t stop

a static black cab’s engine like a drumroll

absolute sadness I cannot prevent

an enormous wrench and she comes up empty    nothing

but her palms are on her knees and she’s slow    dry-heaving

this woman does not have my mother’s mouth or she does

all of her pain is trying to happen at the top of its voice

a botched magic trick

meanwhile rabbits growing out the eyes of a child

and the woman holding its hand    fistfuls of rabbits        

white and black fur bloating in everyone

This poem is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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