A redhead. A queen. A woman.
Yes, she is me, and no:
no one’s woman, someone’s queen, sometime redhead.
Every day a society to conquer, a territory to annex.
Gold in my eyes, on my fingers, in my coffers.
Summer nights so hot even the rain
can’t cool us down, & steam radiates
from the asphalt, like the fog
we get in winter, yet more sinister
somehow, billowing the way it does.
All we want is bare feet, but we
can’t risk burning our toes. I don’t know
how the toads survive it, their tiny
bumpy bodies absorbing what the sun
left behind before the clouds rolled in.
Thunder keeps rumbling.
Susannah, I’m Sorry
I couldn’t be your mother.
The specter of you follows me
through unexpected doorways,
like when I look at the man I wanted
as your father & am tempted to say,
“Go ahead. Knock me up.”
But I promise it’s better for you
that you’ll never be born
or even conceived.
You see, Susannah, I wouldn’t be able
to love you, because I would be too afraid
a mysterious impulse would float
into my brain, begging me to make a ghost
out of your tiny, breakable, pale-skinned body.
At best, I’d have to abandon you,
leaving you to be raised by anyone
other than me.
At worst–well, let’s just say
you and I would be buried together.
Susannah, it’s not your fault.
I want you & your sister Dominique.
I do. But what I don’t want
is the haunted look I’ll see in my own eyes
in the mirror, the face of a woman
who still feels like a girl & is just selfish
enough to contemplate disappearing
so I can go live the life I planned,
& then I’ll be an apparition of the mother
you deserve: wandering the roads at night,
asking to be spirited away
to escape your midnight howls.