who spoke from then on

count the times the police appeared in my living room,
barged in and bobbed like jellyfish on the tangible

resentment of my mother       the sea of her        crashing
on herself       my mother of get in their faces and tell them where to go

assault on an officer      broke her       delicate wrist      said it caused arrest
in her youngest who spoke from then on in television jingles

you could understand perfectly       at&t telecommunications
screaming      covering his ears      blocking out mere prayers (prayers of ma mere?)

once he whispered       we’ll be right back
after these messages       & locked himself in the bathroom for three days

so I was surprised at the protest today when the guards mingled, said hello,
and when I wrote she believes she was assaulted which I later deleted

I mistyped the word believes as believers she believers she believers she
believe-wavers she was assaulted      believe-wavers she was hurt

more than the ones she hurt—court dates   plaintiffs   experts    victims
among which I don’t count myself, not really, I’m fine, I’m nobody—

she is the Mother           she is the rights
of family, resists the detectives who invade our beach house,

charge into our lake cabin, tear through our ranch in the woods, wade
our shallow creek, barely enough to sustain the stranded fish

and when I wrote whispered it came out wishpered, part wish part vesper,
and the policemen and policewomen keep coming, cruising our coves and inlets,

circling the warming sound    I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid
the tiny shrimp of the gulf    pandalus borealis      have begun to disappear

dear translucent embryos of the quiet dark, tiny pink stars,
blinking off like nightlights, and the breath I draw in from the cold night air—

Wendy Cannella’s recent publications include the essay “Angels and Terrorists” featured in The Room and The World: Essays on the Poet Stephen Dunn from Syracuse University Press, and the prose poem “Immortality” selected for a special section of shorts in the 35th anniversary issue of Mid-American Review. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Free Lunch, Phoebe, Southern Indiana Review, Painted Bride Quarterly and Artword, an ekphrastic project sponsored by the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and Beloit Poetry Journal.