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Go Loudly

Dad was the one who found you on the floor.
Who knew how long you’d been dead,
but the hemorrhage
already stained the canary yellow carpet.
Mom, I swear
I heard your blood vessel break
as I tossed and turned
one state over,
miles away from your sadness.
Mom,
the night you died
was the first time I had insomnia.
My college roommates must have hated me
for trying to chase your ghost
from one edge of the bed to the other.
Mom,
you were never one to go loudly into any good night
or bad argument,
so I’m sure
a whisper from whatever god you’d chosen
must have been a curious invitation.
I mean,
you must have died
in a dream so glorious
you knew I couldn’t write a poem about it.
Mom, you were always
just a human being, but with your death,
you became a goddess on my altar,
a terrible reminder
that I was a 19 year-old mortal
who’s never known the cold wind
from a hole in her heart.
We walked my childhood together
not quite friends and never close to enemies,
but I find
that the further away I get
from the sound of your voice
the more I remember
falling asleep on your lap,
giving me hugs,
or painting your tiny toenails.
Mom,
I wear your nail polish now –
Cherries In The Snow,
so far away from our skeletons
bleached by the Las Vegas summers.
Mom, you goddess,
your ashes remind me
that my heart is a golem
made of your memory,
a terrible beast decorated
with the double-helix scars of your DNA,
caged in love and unending life lines
from parallel universes.
Mom,
you did not die
just to leave a stain on the carpet.
Your blood only dried to darkness
to mark where you finally had
that flying dream,
that your spirit finally had enough
of this world you’d occupied.
Mom,
I hope you never whisper in my ear.
I do not want to know your secrets.
You have taught me to fear insomnia
more than the darkness it inhabits,
that I shall not fear dust
because we’ve both eaten from the earth
while on our knees
and in love with smell of blood.
Mom,
I never called you mother
because you taught me
that you have to earn your growth
and the earth wanted you
before the seed was planted in me,
Mom,
they say hell is the absence of god
but when you lose god
hell is a broken blood vessel
spilling and seeping into the canary yellow carpet.
When you’re reminded
that your goddess is gone
you are on your knees,
so close to the clay,
the smell of memory all over your hands,
urging you to hold hearts
and stop chasing ghosts
from one poem to the other.
And Mom,
you are in these words,
it is not your fault
I have made my heart
into this terrible beast,
caged so closely
you would only know it by the beats at my wrist.
How long
did you stand over your body
before you decided to fly?
Tell me what freedom feels like
because I have never been without scars.
Insomnia is my inheritance now,
your voice is the kick that rarely hits
and I wonder
if you spirit
rushed into outer space
like a wave of dust,
diffusing light among the familiar faces
of the stars,
miles away from my sadness.
Mom,
some nights I am still chasing your ghost
from one side of the bed to the other,
trying to force the atoms
back into your shape,
and these dreams are as blank
as the space between stars.
Mom,
you
did not go loudly.
But I’m going to try.

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