Spring Cleaning

 mud
 on my summer dress
 washed a thousand times
 the brown spot, which is supposed to be
 white and pure like the rose I gave my mother
 the tile floors are red and I am an off-white egg
 my yolk drips onto your head
 your laugh fills the walls
 we are in a cave
 somewhere
 home
 white
 is forgiveness,
 is hope, is surrender,
 my mother took the petals
and turned them red just like her lips
how remembering that always was
moment of being sucked dry
i scrubbed for days
i am white
wearing
mud

Washing Up 

my hands    are dirty

I’ve been

digging

hit bone, hit earth,

hit rock, hit bone
You are gone
deep in Earth’s

core,

away from the

center

of my heart
You are dead
my hands

are dirty

I’ve been

cleaning

up your

blood

from the rug
Red finger tips

like my mother’s

 

lipstick
I thought I was her

then there was

you

consuming me

like a

fresh

catch
I bit the bait

but never bled

Stream of Consciousness (unedited) 

everything else blurs away like white static from televisions when i was growing up and september 11th happened and my mother’s face and the gray, so much gray. how did i find her after so many scenes and rituals and deep breaths? i found her standing right across from me at the wake, there were flowers swallowing up the room i was there, reading about nanny and everyone had tears in their eyes because it was so well written and beautiful and i missed her more than ever when i read about my sicilian grandmother, ancestor who shared my blue blue veins. i’ve been writing so much about my mother and the seasons and change, that i think real change is floating away from me before my very eyes and it’s scary, as scary as the gray, as the blue. soon it’ll be mother’s day again this year and i will think about how alive she is on paper but invisible in reality and wonder if she will read my book about her the day it gets published or will it sit on her kitchen counter while she dusts around it? 
you are rainbow, all the dim colors of night and i am still here waiting for woman with red lipped smiles and pointed eyebrows i watched you tweeze them in the mirror so many times behind but you looked away glass and pantyhose sheer black your perm looked at me with wide eyes and its curls puffed up at me almost like a cat who’s ready to attack. i ran away and never came back but you returned night after night in the glass mirror.

Indigo Sun

The sun burns my skin. It is hot, strong, and smells of      fire. I cook, I bake, I let the      rays from the sky shoot into my     pores. I sweat. I burn, I tan. I am     bronze, I am olive, the color of my grandmother, the color of my     ancestors.

I look down at my     blue veins, the same ones which run along my     mother’s thin hands. The blood inside pumps, thick with vengeance, thick with the     sadness that I try to escape from. I fail. It lies     deep in my connective tissue. Indigo lines connect to my heart, connect me to     her.

The sky is aquamarine, with cotton clouds that float     effortlessly. I try to look up, but the sun blinds my eyes. As a     kid, I tried to look at the sun for as long as I could     stand. I was amazed by the fire, the light, the     burn. The heat warmed my     chilled bones.

Somewhere,     Lil is looking up at the same     sky and looking down at these same     veins.

I was Seven When She Loved Me

My mother sits outside with our neighbor, drinking red wine, mingling with the starry sky. I run, barefoot and fast, into the night. She is at ease while we live in Sayreville. I’m not sure if it’s the wine or the sound of the cicadas. In the summer, my mother is free. As am I, being a child, playing with the earth. 

Years later, we become shackled. Far apart, but stuck together with tree sap. 

Red Goo

Power

lies within       me
    Somewhere,
red light bulbs burn hot
 like
tomato sauce that bubbles
on stove
 like
my mother’s fiery eyes
I clean the kitchen every night
but it
                                              stays
dirty
with crumbs in between cracks of floor
sticking to
bottoms
of feet
               why bother
                                                  when
                                                             it doesn’t
                                                  matter
when it just is never clean
Consistency is key
I am Power
   burning through blue veins
       burning through the stove
 when the        grill pan                     smokes
I am Ice
  like my mother’s stare
     like my feet on the tile
  like snow
I
   melt
    into
red
       goo

Open Wounds

In an Action Writing Workshop, the first time Annie Lanzillotto had me write spiral-style, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t really understand what it meant to start from the outside of a scene, and make my way in, or vice versa. I just thought and ran with it. This is what I produced on that magical yellow swirl:

Julie holds my hand
“Pain is beauty,” the man says
The chair is cold
11 years old
“Pick which studs you like.”
White

Cotton ball beneath my ear
burning, yearning
redness
Prick
through my flesh

Where’s my mother?
She wouldn’t take me
It
hurts
The second needle
plunges
into
my
heart

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