My father threw his hard set of car keys
at my mother and, hitting her skin, they
didn’t make the same clink they make
on the counter. There was silence when
there should be the most sound, like in deep
space, where you think you’d pick up
the distant rumble of Jupiter’s thunderous
turning. The bruise became a galaxy on her
thigh, star specks in purple, broken vessels
in cloudy blue and green. My mother made
herself a black hole at the center, sucking
in light, then, as she gained energy,
small bits of matter –
her brown teapot with the coil on the handle,
sets of salt & pepper shakers, pages with one
angry orange slash, torn from a coloring book,
cook books stuffed with folded recipes,
wrinkled rose-patterned sheets, curtains,
pots and me. Nothing and no one could
veer near her void but she tucked them
into a box or under a bed, for keeps.
None were used, none saw the light
of day, so that when my first love
unbuttoned and tugged down my jeans,
the flesh there was so clean as to be alien.
About the writer:
Amber Shockley has published poetry in a variety of print and online publications, including Rattle, Gargoyle and Barrelhouse. Her first chapbook, A Brief Catalog of Common People, was published this year by Main Street Rag. She serves as assistant poetry editor for Atticus Review.
Image: “Passage” by Fabien Beuchet. Gouache on paper. 5.3 x 8.1 inches. By permission.