A Mother Finally Makes Love Again, After

by Patricia Smith

I wake with dawn yawning an unbridled itch across the span of
my chest, as if there is a lie that will die if it is not sung. I begin

inarguably alone, raveled in unwashed sheets and cloaked in funk
so slantly rhymed I suspect its drift is what forces my eyes open.

Unnerved by my own lazy arithmetic, I stink this way to stay
lonely, to explain why old fingers won’t remember the scarlet art

of turning a man into moan and spectacular dust. I stink to stay
vital, to bless my lumped body with a structure while I wallow

in the want of a flap-mouthed kiss or a dime-store card crammed
with plastic music, mailed by someone who knew me before my

plummet utter and south. Fall into my collapsing circle of arms
because this Tuesday has spiraled wildly and led you here. Fuck

me in the general direction of history. I will teach you to mourn
with your whole damned face, to unreel a keening as crave becomes

remember. The horrid moon splatters glow on these dirty sheets
that still know me as saint. It commands you to weep my life.