Rumors and All the Things They Say

Weekly feature by: Sara McClory

We laugh, now, about the time
we were almost murdered on Christmas Eve,
the night the sky barely wept any snow
as the T.V. soothed with the hum and glow
of its moving parts,
the sound of reruns drowning out
tipsy but heavy steps moving into the room.
The fuzzy colors illuminated his features,
but were absent in deep forever running wrinkles
hoarded on his untanned skin.

And you, my mother, leapt from the tattered
goodwill couch in a speed that defined science;
your torso a mountain and pool-noodle arms flailing
at the sight of a sharp dagger nestled tightly in his fist,
eyes as vacant as a hole.

All three of us careened to that place —
face against face against face,
spit sputtered in all directions like acid rain,
heat radiating from skin as lips receded
to show animal like teeth.

It fizzled, and in the morning we sat,
in the tepid leather seats of his Lincoln,
engine warmed but didn’t move,
as exchanged looks and apologies
reflected in the mirrors.
And then, as we pulled on the black road
gifts tumbling against my shaken body,
cold sores tingling on my lips,
I knew the measurement of a rumor,
untamed and raw
and that what they say about parents
is true:

They brought you into this world.
They can certainly take you out.

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