04/09

burden 

every day, on a broken scale,
my grandmothers weighed themselves
like orange gatherings or pear pies.
pink tile bathroom. the sink 
crooning hymn or radio. 
still their ghosts come to measure pounds.
i watch from the bathtub where 
i have been trying to shave off a few pounds
with an old razor. you can remove
so much or yourself & most of it
will grow back. once, i carried a backpack
full of stones to forest
to offer the tree spirits 
a little new beauty. crystals polished
by hand. even the trees have scales
these days though. drop a limb.
shed leaves from the guilt.
in middle school we learned
about the egyptian land of the dead
but all i remember is a drawing
of thoth & his golden scales. 
a feather weighed against each person's soul.
ever since then, in preparation,
i collect every wisp i see: cat tail 
& blue jay tongue & bloom petal. 
i want to be able to know 
if i really can thin like an afterlife feather. 
salvation is something measured & recorded. 
my grandmothers know this. they make sacrifices
to the garbage disposal. they leave
the oven door open to speak yellow sermons
into kitchen. i pass through
all of this though knowing
the scale is broken. always reads:
107 lbs. i'm wondering if there is something 
perminantly un-shed-able? our bones weigh
about 20 lbs so it's not just skeleton.
something like memory going golden bird.
rib-caged. how heavy can a voice go?
mine doesn't float in water. sinks 
like bronzed shoes & arrows. my grandmothers
stock closets with rotten chocolate
& christmas lights. i build them ladders 
upon ladders to encourage their final
attic-ing. as for heaven, they tell me
you can only enter through a hole
the size of a thimble. they contemplate
what else they can get rid of. 
shake their heads & take scale turns again
until the sky is greasy with forecast. 


 

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