A Lesson on Lessons

You were five years old
when your mother removed
the closet door. Unstuffed
animals left nail marks on
the inner workings of the
small room. Where are the
daisy dresses and glitter glue
sandals? Mother must
have left them in storage
alongside your baby teeth.

You pushed past the piles of
crab apple seeds and found your
bathing suit. Moths had eaten
a fabric hole in the shape of a human
heart across your ribs. Mother awoke
from her newspaper mattress, and
you drove together to the lagoon.

Naked feet sunk into the mud.
A man with no teeth was
howling bible verses and your
mother fell to her knees.
You think of how he could use
a cup of honey tea. Obscurity
swallows your mother hole.
With her peach flavored lip gloss,
she presents to you a book
before leaving on a puffing, 
charcoal caterpillar never to return.

I spoke to the willows,
who had similar stories, but they
just laughed. After tattooing
each line of the book on my stomach,
I learned to let go of things that don't
want to stay. There is no love here.