When I recently moved my desk downstairs, I found a folder of papers in one of the cabinets. It was stuffed with things I had wanted to transcribe: poems, stories, contents of manuscripts, and the episodes of an online zine I once created.
Some of the items were twenty five years old. I cringed at a few poems, but edited them in the language I have now. The poem I am sharing today had no date, but had to be before 2013 when my mother was still alive. It was hand written on graph paper. I still write poems that way. The idea of orderly boxes has always given me comfort. Enjoy a found poem.
The Comfort of Lies
My brother finds me once a year
to rekindle a memory we let
disintegrate when he moved west.
He catches me this time, alive,
hot disjointed tongue talking
that needs a decoder ring
to decipher and calculate meaning.
Asking for mom’s number, he says
he wants to tell her he loves her
once more before they’re both dead.
I tell him I can’t do it. I can’t be the rag
that cleans up their mess anymore.
His voice goes silent.
I keep talking, like I always do,
spilling the proverbial beans
and fucking shit up with honesty.
We both know we prefer
the comfort of lies, but
the words had already sailed.
“You only call her when you want
money. It breaks her heart
to even hear your voice.”
“Fuck her then,” he says.
“Lose my number. Fuck you both.”
The line buzzes dead.
Some things never change.