I see everything through invisible atoms
that scrape the white brown field
and peel a roughish patch on my knee.
Schoolyard thick with spruce smoke
curling through throat dampers and open flues.
My sister and I play a game
stealing each other’s footprints
until we arrive at dried hollyhock
voodoo oranges stuck with whole cloves
satellites hanging in the window of our grandmother’s kitchen.
With the critical mass of family confessing drunk
squatted in the ash green of her living room
it is time to open my new puzzle but I do not have the tools.
Christmas running with a serrated blade
pregnant in my palm
I turn the hall corner and greet again my sister
metal first. We are magnets now. North
and south. Her scream
cocooned like a train stuck in a tunnel
while the first warm drop
drops on my foot. Every year hanging
on the tree the bloody tinsel of her hair.
White is the wrong color small
the wrong word even with a frayed brown cord
cinching the gown above my teenage thighs.
I am not enough to purchase his drink. Paid
Twenty for a wedding twenty-five for a funeral.
Friend disappears with Father
disappears for good. There are tongues
we dare not say carved into the altar
altering the scrap of saint’s cloth hollow in its middle.
That Sunday morning mass when the blue-hair
went numb pitched over the knotted pew spoke
in grunts as the medics put the soul back in her.
She reached for a hand thinking it was her husband
who had been shot down over some unpronounceable sea.
And you Father Noon did not look down did not ever
look down. Blessed be the interrupted.
I light holy charcoal at the feet of our priest
swing incense in the face of my cousin
let my mother tell me I was wrong to stare
into the dead eyes of sky blue Mary
throat open wanting
to lick the snake that was tonguing her plaster calf.
I held the books and cried for dead bodies
collected my twenty
and just like her tilting over the gathered
did not know how to leave.
Andrew Hachey is a poet from Toronto, whose work has appeared in Quiet Lunch, The Arrival, and is forthcoming in Atlantis, and Fjords Review. He is the editor of Carbon Culture Review, and assistant editor at C&R Press. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his son, Abbott. Find him on Twitter @invisibleatom