Sister

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Sister hides

behind

brunette mantle

dyed

burgundy,

and I wonder

whether

obscured amber orbs

jammed inside her eye

sockets

are human,

or glass

beads that once belonged

to her favorite baby

doll.

 

Sister says,

I’m cursed like Mother,

and I wonder

whether

she owns vocal

cords,

or plastic mama

box

manufactured

in Japan.

 

If I shake her,

will she speak

faster?

 

Awful

lot of questions

Sister

can’t

answer

unprovoked.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

Anyway, Always

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Thinking about it now, I’m not the least bit

sorry for the hateful shit I’d said to you

eleventy years ago, when I was a kid

and you fucking knew better.

I rescind my apologies.

Not that my sorries ever meant a good

goddamn to you, anyway—

they were ever only as true as your own,

anyway.

Insincerity: a common factor.

 

No, that’s not true…the truth is complex.

 

I wish I hadn’t apologized so much for defending myself

against you.

And I wish you hadn’t rolled over so easily whenever

I called you out. I wish you’d properly raged against

the reasons you were the way you were. Sure,

you’d spoken of the ghosts that breathed inside of you—

warned me of them—but never did you

exorcise them. Never did you make them scream in terror.

 

Not that your armor went unused. You’d fought your best all your life…

 

I am greater than you had ever hoped to be. I’ve welded your chainmail

to my own, and I am running into battle with your heart sewn into my banner.

Mother mine, I know your truths; yours are mine, and I will defend them,

always.

 

I will make your ghosts and mine scream in terror.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

Dead Mothers Don’t Dine

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I dreamt I was miniature, traveling through a labyrinthine trailer park diseased with taupe colored muck, and flip-flopping mudskippers; pectoral fins glimmered in waves, despite the sunless, flat grey ceiling of a sky. My skin screamed at the loathsome goby touch, and my mouse heart beat savagely against its cage. Panic drove my legs, and then I was airborne, peddling.

I just knew I’d make it home.

Touching down in a blue sky town dressed in purple hued Victorian architecture, my height increased with every footstep; I kept growing until I reached 5 feet, 6 ¾ inches. I walked past a liquor store that also sold Native American art, and was reminded of you. The booze bottles displayed in the front window sparkled in the sunlight like your eyes did, once upon a time in another plane of reality.

Fade out…

Fade in…

I attend an outdoor Thanksgiving dinner. The grass is long, soft, and deep green—so lovely beneath my bare feet. A long table is sat atop a small hill; a plump, silver haired woman wearing a powder blue house dress is arranging place settings. I see your name card. Your plate has been set upside down, and your napkin, folded, placed at the left. There are no utensils, or chalice set for you.

Dead mothers don’t dine.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

(image: Rooster Magazine)

 

 

Intermittent Bullshit

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You were goddamned gorgeous, and a fucking conundrum, my mother. When I think of all the men in your life who’d tried to solve your riddles, I laugh. The relics of those men inhabit a corner in the catacombs of my heart. I don’t want them, but each one retains a precious part of you, so there they shall remain. Yes, I’ll keep those tokens to remind me that I never want to be like you—insecure.

You’d always believed you required a man’s love in order to be completely happy. From the depths of my being, I am so sorry you’d lived your life on the cusp of a chasm so black. I wish you had known your true self through the eyes of your daughters; and I don’t understand why Tara and I weren’t reasons enough for you to be content.

I’m angry tonight—angry about your failures as a mother. And I’m pissed off at myself for even thinking about all of the men you’d put in front of me and my sister. You’re fucking dead—anger is a waste of my energy. What kills me is that I’d believed this shit was behind me. I’d forgiven you a long time ago. So why am I reflecting on my adolescence all over again?

Maybe forgiveness is infinitely intermittent, and real acceptance is bullshit.