I’ve been trying to piece my mother’s life together
One cigarette burn and ragged scar at a time.
Trying to make sense of the drowned look in her eye,
The fire in her throat
Her inability to cry.
My mother is a series of plane crashes
The ones where you question whether or not the survivors really did get out alive.
They call it guilt – but she wears it more like a widow wears a wedding band.
You look long enough and you can see her reaching out for a phantom hand
Of a boy she loved
Of a boy who died
Of a boy whose body lay bleeding out on the roadside –
Or maybe she was looking for my grandmother.
Cool palms and blue eyes to waiver over broken jawline skin,
Only to be turned away because to dishonor one’s husband would be considered a sin.
My mother is the feral cat we brought into the house
Clawing up walls and snagging at flesh
We’d hold her and it bit back
And my mother – she fights back
Pairs kindness with car wreck.
And this is what she sees in me;
I am unbuckled seatbelt smile
Cracked windshield chest and too wild to be her child
Too fond of flying because I am always trying to see the world.
And she is there waiting –
Telling me that I will crash.
Cassie Yochum grew up near Rochester, NY. Her work has been published in Pretty Cool Poetry Thing and Ground & Sky. Aside from writing poetry, she enjoys orange cats, hazelnut creamers, and peaches.