Imagined Scenario 13: Birth Mom and Dad’s Last Night Out by Tom Holmes

It’s Saturday night,
dad hoists and sharpens
his spear, mom spreads grease

paint on her pregnant belly,
climbs into her robe.
I punch her inner navel.

In her last performance,
she watches a crack
open in the stage’s floor.

Stage right, dad plays
the blind guard and thumps
his spear. She readies

her soliloquy. An ant drags
a piano into the stage
crack and bangs out

“Bolivar Blues,”
as she begins
her death-in-love speech

and steps on the crack.
I kick her left lung
to elevate her speech,

she coughs and spreads
her legs to prepare
for labor. Dad firms

his spear-hold stance.
I drop out screaming.
The ant pulls out

a brandy snifter
for me, and primes
it with loose change.

She bleeds on my
ruptured afterbirth,
collapses and drowns

the music and herself.
Dad lights half a cigarette
backstage and exits

to the back alley.
The next day’s reviews
announce the performance

as grand. I grow up
a lighting man, adopted
by the theater,

casting shadows
into cracks, listening
for my cue.

 

 

Tom Holmes is the founding editor of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics, and author of three full-length collections of poetry, most recently The Cave, which won The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013, as well as four chapbooks. His writings about wine, poetry book reviews, and poetry can be found at his blog, The Line Break. Follow him on Twitter:@thelinebreak