By Stephanie Rodgers
Featured Art: Figurative Abstraction by Unknown
Now when my heart beats, it sounds like
crunched leaves skittering, the revving up
of a broken-down Honda. I can’t visit him
at a cemetery, or even the park. Scatter
my ashes there, he asked, and then injected
god knows how much, enough to warrant
a coroner call. Hahaha. Joke is Heather said nope,
stuffed and stored him in the back
of our mother’s closet. He lives there now,
sucking up the radiator heat. Joel, damn,
man. Come back and lick the spilt fizz off
the Budweiser can again. No one here
is going anywhere if I have a say, and how
didn’t I have a say with you? You plunged,
you syringed, each time needling—gentle,
I hope, as my grandmother crocheting
a winter hat for your oldest girl. I won’t
for long torture myself for you, I thought,
biting into a string of candy hearts around
my neck, your kid insisting, eat it, the sick-
sweet sticky hands of a two-year-old with
a dad resting inside a shoebox next to
a bowling ball. You did it. Congratulations.
I’m elated. I’m devastated. I’m a copycat
singing your songs to your girls to sleep.
Listen, creep: we remember you for now,
but now is a ragged dog, dragging its bum
leg along the buzzing halls of a new house.
Originally published in Issue 19.