Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2019  Vol. 18 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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My Mother Has Had It with the Tragedies

of other people’s lives. Oprah’s Book Club,
tearjerkers, Anna’s jump or Sophie’s choice—
she wants none of it, prefers soft-hued paperbacks
and late-night soaps, gazebo-covered albums
that tinkle with guitars. She reads the news
only Sundays, thumbs off NPR, flips channels
like a Vegas star, gambling a win. She shreds
the pamphlets sent in the mail (those starving
dogs and puff-bellied children), starts at any knock,
speeds by any accident, passing passersby.
Halloween, she skips the candles, carves no
pumpkins, hangs a Santa on the door. I don’t
need ghosts
, she tells me. Long ago, she left
the church, its many Jobs, its weeping Marys,
its dying youth. She knows nothing happens
for a reason and wants nothing to happen:
no tears, no tricks, no tragic turns. I watch
her like this, thick robed, head bowed,
poking the hearth with a stick. We’ll read
through the night, she and I, and winter
will harden its hold, and still the fire will kick
in its chest, like a heart, red and cold.  

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