by Katie Moore

Father is frugal with his love, more even

than with money—but that too. He drank awhile,

then stopped. There was more laughing before

he stopped, also more red faces and raised voices.

Mama mourns the whole cursed cosmos

in her tiny lotion-soft hands, it's all her fault.

She can never say why, but guilt rides her bones

like the spirit. She rubs worry raw. She wants

a drink. Birth is a lottery, two faced coin toss,

an accident falling somewhere

in the spectrum of hues between happy

and not. Life is a lover. Life is a switchboard.

Life is like fleshy fruit, sweetest

just before the rot sets in.