Best of the Net 2012  

The Usual Décor

A town goes to pieces.
Dead starlings litter the park,
necks snapped. My mother's teeth
scrape glass as she watches

light flay open a little boy
trying to stick his hands
down coat pockets, deep
into the earth.

I'm the tourist she doesn't see,
an invisible hand
turning her back to bed.
My mother curses her life.

She tells me about a shed
behind the house, a buried cat
and I shouldn't go out there.
Dark violets coil around her wrists.

She can't move. Her bones
dig through cartilage, muscle
trying to get out. I can't see you,
she cries. I rub my palm against

her cheek. I'm here, I say.
The son you might have loved
as you become
the mother I can bury.

- John Harvey (from Ghost Ocean)