It leaves a mark when I fall
on the floor of my father’s kitchen.
Only a few days it’s been
of lifting him up from one place,
then putting him down somewhere else,
then driving to work for the late shift
while a nurse looks after him
for five hours, three times a week—
all we can afford. There is no choice;
sometimes, I have to leave him
alone. I ignore the soreness
of the bruise taking shape on my ass,
because these dishes won’t clean themselves
and Father hasn’t had his bath. It embarrasses us,
especially the rolling back of his foreskin,
the veins like tiny stitches on the inside
of a minotaur’s mask, so I let him wash that part
while I look away. He does not see me
like this, on the floor. I’m twenty-five
and agile, it is no accident, but
a tantrum. I throw the dishes—shards
all around me like a constellation
of stars for which I have no names.
We are lost. What have I done,
I’m thinking now, in telling the hospital
I can do this; I can manage just fine.
In the next room, through the wall,
he asks me if I’m OK;
if I need him to do anything?
Please die, I whisper then sweep
the stars, turn back toward the sun
soaking in the gray water.
Read another poem by Tommye Blount by purchasing a print or digital copy of the Mar/Apr 2018 issue here.