Those memories go to my brother’s eyes: kidney red
from drugs. My mother rubbing them with a dishrag,
praying to the saint of addiction. Then on our row house lawn
he swung clubs with an Asian woman,
who one midnight said, you teach me golf.
My mother worried: the husband might mind.

He would watch from the doorway. His cigar smoke
moving like stories: a school bombing in a Saigon village—
blood from flesh and orchard fruit, the first carwash
he opened in some ghetto off I-395,
and how he took her in that shaky attic at a cousin’s wedding.
Not against her will, but against all the city gardens’
orange blossoms and sirens for a gas station robbery.
Against whatever else nights are lit and burned by.

Michelle Askin has poetry published or forthcoming in Oranges & Sardines, The Sierra Nevada Review, 2River View, Prick of the Spindle, Plain Spoke, and elsewhere.

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