Object Permanent

by Jaimie Gusman

It is Tuesday. It is Sunday.
It is napkins and Windex
and garbage bags on Monday.

When I arrive the oven
is already on, burning
a place for her to stand.

She takes my hand,
puts it over her stomach,
asks me if it feels strange

and if I were to take a shovel,
could I get the illness out?
Could I help her dig it out?

I move my fingers up,
point them towards her chin.
I want her to open her mouth.

Get in my open gate heart,
get in my slow crossing heart,
let me corpse out your heart.

I tell her, whatever is in there
is blue and soaked and shivering.
Fay doesn’t say she knows,

but she knows there is a flood
in the Midwestern region of her.
She knows what happens to rivers,

that the depressing days will go on
no matter how the meat is plated
or how the dishes are stacked.

don’t ever let them kiss you there,
don’t ever let them turn you over,
don’t ever let them shut your eyes.

I take my mother to visit Fay.
We are sweating. There are no clouds.
I tell her to say something about the memory

of being her daughter, the purpose
of these stones and that urn
is just another word for mother.

 

Jaimie Gusman is a freelance writer and poets-in-the-school teacher living in Ka`a`awa, Hawai`i. Jaimie has three chapbooks: Gertrude’s Attic (Vagabond Press, 2014), The Anyjar (Highway 101 Press, 2011), and One Petal Row (Tinfish Press, 2011). Recent work can also be found in the Cleaver Magazine, Jewish Literary Journal, Rise Up Review, The Bleeding Lion, Moss Trill, The Feminist Wire, and the anthology All We Can Hold. Her first full-length book, Anyjar was published by Black Radish Books in September 2017.

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