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Always Messing with them Boys
Jessica Helen Lopez         
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Beauty

Beauty, I canft promise
you much but the hard
kind of love made soft
by my own pair of hands ?
the splitting of my thighs
like the cleft of nectarine
and the muted blood of motherhood

the early morning of your birth
colored the sky a certain shade of rose
I will never see again
and I labored the whole night away
like a lone train in the dark

the months you spent inside of me
crafted a name ? Mia, Mine

you were a river that spilled from within,
born praising Spring you split the air with your cries
my body bled announcing your arrival ?
a dark ribbon inside of me, unfolding

yielding
to your soft coiled body,
and my skin was alive with you

your father shed his ego
on the day you were born and I never
saw him so naked and pure

I should have known then
we were a bit too possessive,
calculative, mechanical things
the way good parents can be,
the way we change,

the way the tendrils of our scars wrap
around the ankles of our children

Beauty, this was years before
I became enamored with the
fanfare of divorce, before we
spoke through lawyers and angry-lipped
phone calls

before we lost
track of you, our mangled
voices seeping into the walls of
your sleeping bedroom

our bent voices
brutal to your ears
red sickle-shaped words
we hurled at one another

how we suffer our little children
with our flint-rock tongues,
how we split hairs over money,
the cold bread of the dead

I blame him
for that knife in the back
he brought to our bed,
my shameless groveling
the secret closet where he
choked me
while I was nine months
swollen with you

I blame me
all those wrap-around thoughts
only a manic depressive knows
for my bitter tongue, my acidic love
the dumb pretty
poems I wrote

in the shadow of this sadness
I remember the small pale face of my mother,
the red threats my fatherfs mouth made ?
their desperate and clumsy attempts towards happiness

Beauty, forgive us
we were rough-hearted, children-turned-parents
young once and in love with the world,
we became old so fast ?
ten shades of grey we fell
tumbling and tangled

You were conceived in the bluster of a winter desert
sand in our eyes, we were two bull-headed lovers
who groped for one another in the darkness

we held you
so we wouldnft have to hold
onto our own shapeless loneliness

but this is how we get by, right?
on a morsel of regret and what we
think we know of love ?

this is how
we say
we are
sorry

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