Holly Jaffe Boca Raton (Michael Mackin O'Mara)
The Day Our Father Left Home,
our mom gutted the garden
of rocks, weeds and pinwheels.
When she left the crusts on our sandwiches
and let the house cats out into the yard,
we had hoped it was merely one bad day.
But soon she became obsessed
with saving us from herself.
She was plagued by depraved premonitions.
She dug up every rock,
placed them into a wheel barrel,
took them to a pond
nearly a mile down the road.
She emptied the birdbath after every rain
and roared at the finches--
took a rake to the tree branches.
She cursed the gray skies.
She would lay at the foots of our beds,
fully dressed--her white Keds,
muddy and fastened to her feet
She saw herself as clear as day,
stoning us in our bedrooms while we slept.
She’d wash her bloody hands in the birdbath.
The finches would dip their beaks into the pale pink,
ravenous as turkey vultures.
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