b.g. thomas: Slow hum & other poems

slow hum

grandma iola kept music/ inside herself like you keep baskets of paper clips push pins and caffeine pills

she kept stories too people/ places/ times good and not so good wrapped/ in tiny packages to disperse when needed

the quilt/ she tucked around me

at night/ burlap on one side/ how it itched unrelenting until the discovery of its origins soothed the savage/ as she spun tales patches moving/ opening each a testament/ to a life once lived/ gthi tiuzhi wiwita-ama

my family still lives in me

fannie moving through tall grass her skin silk/ like black moonless night long skirt dragging/ catching on shafts of yellow wheat

lula hugging/ breathless angels close another to bury/ in shallow graves along the river’s edge

goodie bubbling/ grinning always a good wedding dancer

pearl of great beauty

iola of great strength

lessie of gentle spirit not long meant/ for this earth

gifting my mother breath

before departing this sphere

a cooing rooster at dawn three times/ flowing back to the beginning now i am her/ music kept inside slow hum

the things he took from me

in dark hours/ world sleeping

bundled on its side/ resting

peaceful cords sooth the still air

whispers on bird breeze/ and wing breath

soundless soft wind/ across sidewalks

gentle stir of children’s chalk

remnants of youth/ glowing blue

in twilight/ star jasmine and little leaf lindens

scent the air shifting through the open window

their leaves green glow iridescent/ in the moonlight

stardust spiraling downwards/ taking

what is left of me/ close your eyes

hush/ there is no need to witness this

unraveling/ slitting/ flesh rending

peeling away from its mooring

pressure and swelling inside/ each thrust

drives the barrage deeper/ into soft tissue

absent from the body/ grunt

and sweat/ sheltered in moonbeam spiral

still/ we cannot escape the swell

how it covers the air/ and our broken

body is/ just there

when he is finished/ with this assault

we find the body limp/ devoid of breath

we run our ghost fingers/ along still chest

we lift and catch/ any fragments of blood

and spittle frothing on the body’s lips

touch the residue of liquid that he has again

injected into us/ it slips down

the inside of the body’s thigh

the body is too large for the bed

to small for the space it inhibits

we no longer fit inside our own skin

so/ we separate

tucking parts of ourselves away

coughing the body back to life/ jagged

breath drawn in aches tumbling from bruised lips

i/ am no longer whole

i/ am alone in this

this is what/ he has taken from me

endless night and sky and land and then

moon rests in its glow

expecting/ to be cradled

bridge of clouds/ reacts to tinted tips

crafting soft steps spiraling from earth to sky

below lands stretch/ endless

mountains loom

purple azure highlights strike

tree tips brilliant/ against

the fast growing denim night

nothing/ moves only gathering shifting shades

on the road headlights greet headlights

greet darkness again

shadows transverse/ a sign becomes a man

walking/ a tree/ a dragon

exhaling/ laying itself down

so that we may move past

quietly/ soft songs beat bass from the stereo

in the back children snore lightly/ mouths open

whisper past the hill/ cross covered

eyes closed imagining/ you/ climbing

cloud spiral untainted

by what has happened to your body

forcing the inverse on i-75

my car is straight hood rez/ no joke

i sculpted and duct taped that pizza box to the dash board

to house the rear view mirror/ the angle is perfection

i can see everything behind me

i don’t usually drive that car/ there’s a spare

passage side since october/ it’s now april

but/ i drove it today

that little tire was spinning twice as fast

to keep up with the rest/ like a short kid trying to keep up

with the big people in their life/ like ryan

little legs working overtime/ to keep up with my stride

never complaining/ not then/ not now

we are/ moving backwards

i lift myself off the sterile hospital floor/ grasping

the thin silver rails of the gurney/ yanking

that white sheet up and over your face/ ryan

you don’t move/ don’t complain/ no whisper

no sigh/ nothing

i am grabbing the small hands/ of your brother and sister

hooking baby in her car seat on my elbow

out the windowless door/ past the long-faced nurse

with her compliant face/ exiting the automatic doors

which hiss open behind us with a slow/ low

shush/ sunlight striking our backs

faces in shadows/ we climb back into that broken car

that car whose only purpose has been to deliver us

to this sick place/ we will not stay here

we make this car take us back up i-75 north

full speed in reverse/ cars barreling past us heading south

riding parallel at times with cars on the other side of the highway

heading north/ them facing north

they do not see us

sliding back through town/ past the c-store

past the kids/ dispersing from the ball court

past the family/ arguing in their front yard

up skunk hollow and into the driveway at unit 43

out of that car/ past the dogs/ who do see us

taking back their licks from our knees

into the house/ where the children disappear

into the caverns of blankets and the baby

is uncoated/ unwrapped/ and tied to her cradle board

gurgling and watching me/ as i crawl backwards

and sit on the floor to hang up the phone before it can ring

i will stay here forever if that’s what it takes/ just

don’t/ let it ring/

b.g. thomas an emerging artist and writer resides in macy nebraska. thomas recieved a MFA in Studio Art from Moore College of Art and Design and a MFA in Creative Writing from Arcadia University. thomas’ work has appeared in Fish Food, GNU, The Warren, Dryland, Silver of Stone, Heavy Feather Review and Hydrotropic Literary as well as several anthologies.