Tania Pryputniewicz

Bohemian Rhapsody, Illinois

They left for the formal, devilled eggs
on a silver tray, father minus beard,

our mother in white chiffon, yolk
yellow sleeves, ringlets down her neck.

Must she go? David’s here—someone’s
son, to babysit; a gust of winter air

hangs over the row of empty boots;
a glimpse of stars, the prairie dark,

her perfume, the obsidian bevel
of the back door window rinsed

by headlights, little brother bouncing
on the couch, their bedroom mine.

Radio on, standing on the old cord
bordered bedspread, slipping

with that velvet singer into the mirror,
his blue bruised eyelids rimmed

in glitter, maroon stenciled lips,
his Spartican throat, the epic grief:

jury of chorus, the aching for the mother
he betrayed by killing another man so many

lives before I chose this mother, father,
the laws of separation set in motion,

five ironed blouses hanging in her closet,
her body dancing elsewhere without mine.


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