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Motherlung by Lisa Marie Brodsky

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Can't Stop What's On Its Way

Brodsky, Lisa Marie

This is not to say 
I have not hated her.
She scrubbed my five-year-old face
as my body fought her clutch.
I cursed her in my teens, when pen and paper
were my only comrades.
Phones slammed down so hard in my twenties
that receivers cried out from the sting.

January of ’06: she calmly says they found
a mass on her lung.
We go to brunch, surreal to gather
Eggs Benedict and slices of cantaloupe onto our plates.
It’s only while I drink my orange juice
that she says the word “cancer” 
and everything sours.

The singe of cigarettes, clear plastic 
tail of the wrapper lies on her kitchen table. 
She has not quit.
Gramma’s pink alligator-skin case still sits
on Mom’s bedside.

Perhaps it’s not hate I feel just then, 
though she shrugs when I ask, “why?”
It’s that shrug, that helplessness I hate –
such ignorance keeps her car driving
toward the broken bridge,
blazing bodies lying haphazardly
at the bottom of the cliff. 

Copyright 2014 © Lisa Marie Brodsky

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