T.

by

Tori Shaw

I shovel dirt into my mouth
taste the four corners of my jaw
until I am floating with heaviness
atop pounds of memory
your voice a reminder of words
swallowed in affirmation

I see my father’s calloused hands
stocking corner-store shelves
while bullets fall as fast
as a dream deferred
and I look outside my window
hoping this full belly is worth it

I hold her body to mine
hoping the warmth of motherhood
will cradle me on the kitchen floor
resurrect me from sadness
and evaporate my tears
but she is afraid
and the knob turns
until I am alone

T is a map of years praying
and I touch God from the starved earth
hoping she will respond
to hands washed in threats
books burned in Revelation
and the pain of doubt


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