The Anticipated Response

…and when you lie very still
and petrified
of yourself and what’s to come
of that skin you soothed with lotion
and soaked in mud
and rubbed with salts
twice a week
those fingernails
you bit, then stopped biting,
then started to bite again
after the divorce—
the first time you thought
you were losing it all—
but always kept painted
even if slightly chipped,
in hues that suited
your current climate—
blameless blue, plentiful pink,
nascent neons, opaque orange—

and that hair!
tough now like your reluctance
but once the nuisance
that your mother searched for knots
then the long wave that
you treated with oils and
scented strawberry
that beckoned to Bobby
and Louie, but eventually
won you Roy, who
languished in the slow
curtain of it falling
from its tight bun
to brush his bare shoulders
that you panted and grunted over
working hard for your joys;
your legacy—
the adult children
sobbing outside your door

…and when you are there

on that primary colored beach ball
you spent your life inflating
with your tenacious breath,
that same breath
that’s been passed
like a bong
amongst the world’s
saints and murderers
and murdering saints alike,

then I will remember
the kindness
in each and every plate of mush
you served the many
animals that came
into and out of your life
and every worry
you accepted on behalf
of those you loved
I will remember every night
you bravely sat alone
before the television
having wishes and regrets
about love, burying
your longing (until now)
I will remember
the effort it took
to bandage your
son’s open wounds
after the accident
and how you thought
you wouldn’t be able
to love him without
his same good looks
but still managed to,

the rest,
I promise to forget.

© 2011 Dana Collins


Filed under Poetry

4 responses to “The Anticipated Response

  1. S

    Fantastic work, Dana! –SC

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