Fiction    Reading Room    Memoir    Interview
Alice Miller

April 7

A woman stands
at the kitchen window, stares blurrily
into your small world. You are content
to be clanging
music, smoking barbeques,
recycling bins brimming
with glass. They are private
school uniforms, dishes and bedtimes,
a steaming resentment
from the balcony. They can’t tell
you just talked to your mother, whose
speech was cluttered
and undecided. You broke in
and spoke for her, covering up
the glaring, the scared
deficiencies. Your mother couldn’t know
you’d just left
his place, his mouth
a ghastly tied up
red. That he’d stooped
to say that you were lovely, only
to state that this was it. That your hands
had hacked your speech, in the vain
hope of stopping
words. Perhaps he’d known
you’d bruised your skin, that you
looked for him in each
passing vehicle.

*

And later, tracing the spine
of the hills, you see the view
is all over again. As you watch
you nod obediently,
like when you’re expected
to understand. You’re only
so many people
deep. But how to wait,
and watch the water?
 
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