Your mother is crying, father is waiting.
Fishhook, once caught in your cheek,
blood long dead, long dried, has been lost.
Buried with my father, perhaps, but not
yours. This is a poem about consequences.
This is a story about choices. Taxidermy
deer hangs hollow on a cracked wall in your
old room. Staring at the emptiness of it all.
The unfairness. I sent you a letter; you wrote
back about not understanding. About places
and where to put them. I spoke in time and regret,
family and ties. You answered with a
sharp watch, and broken knife. But it is you,
who does not understand. You, who has not
tasted the wet earth bleeding in your mouth
every day. You, who has never asked the names
of the flowering volunteers who grow among the
irises and be refused, even as they disappear
into the dark, dry soil. I have prayed about stars,
streaks, tears, and miracles; yet, watched death
overtake a mountain while I wept into a dirty
concrete floor, spoke seeping into my body like
a suffocating sacrifice; don’t tell me I do not
understand. This is a story about consequences;
this is a poem about choices. Your mother is still
crying, and your father is still waiting. Waiting.
Please come home.
Tia Cowger is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University. A poet at heart, her work has been published in Eastern’s literary journal, The Vehicle, Toe Good, Bloodpuddles, and Gone Lawn.