By: Shine Ballard
he & i, samenamed, we counted
those stitches, together. oddly,
they were more disturbing
than that greystiffeningthing
as it was. we had not cried
until that mathymoment—i’ve despised
arithmetic since. he cried
to his mother, i to mine,
of such laxity, the lack of
decorum—they consoled us, or they didn’t.
i cannot remember.
i swore to never again linger
over a thing that was onceliving,
it’s a sense which never becomes made.
i learned a lot that day.
how family can have skin
which is different, how cousins
can be elderly. how those lost
find us all differently. for instance :
no one taught me, as a fouryearold,
how to lose a grandmother.
i misplaced a heman once before
and tragedy was the word, at least
for a minute. i faintly recall her sleeping
there, as they esteemed it—i’ve also had
difficulty with closing my eyes there
after; rest became funereal—but it was
the doughnuts in the other room
i was missing.
i didn’t know what cigarettes or coffee were,
but the room smelled of them—and those
sweetconfections no one was crying
in that room. that, too, a lesson.
Shine Ballard, otiose&outré, currently creates and resides on this plane(t).
You can find Shine at @xShine14 on Twitter.