by Savannah Smith
When my mom gets drunk she believes in God
and karma, and herself, and the world being as beautiful
as blue cheese inside an olive.
She says that for every moment of darkness
there is a thousand of light
and so I wonder how we will not go blind
when the tumor is gone and the fireplace is lit.
I never believed in the out of body experience
until I was missing my brother and my mother needed me.
It wasn’t that time stood still but rather
the hands of clocks were broken legs
of the ballerina inside my jewelry box, spinning
until it wasn’t time passing at all but
a pirouetting tornado of irreversible and angry color.
We do not know if we should buy my mother
gifts for when she is sick or gifts for when she is better,
for each is kind and each is an insult.
She sits and peels presents from half-priced wrapping paper
that we stole from my father’s closet;
she is a contradiction of skin and bone
and scars and titanium, somehow
thinner and thicker at the same time
and a grand piano plays when she laughs
so there is always music.
We live together and we live apart.
The ballerina dances on through
the infinite encore while
my brother and I pass time between houses
sitting in the kind of silence that can only be broken
by snow falling in New England.