THE WAY WE FLED
silhouettes the snow.
Tree limbs cut down by some bastard or buzz saw,
chipped remains scattered
afield around the stump
as if they’d tried to escape
the carnage, the way we fled
from my father after school.
Our legs gave out.
He’d gather our grains in a burlap sack,
sprinkle us around the corners of the house,
soak his roots in whiskey.
If you ever find you are defenseless
it’s best to compliment the buzz saw,
caress its teeth ─
pour it a glass of Jack Daniels. Let it snarl.
Wait for the roars to become wheezes.
Then, walk from the field. Unhurried.
You were four when your uncle played trot-trot to Boston,
you in Cinderella undies. Both of you
locked behind the bathroom door. Me too.
A man lurks behind you on the sidewalk. You cross.
He crosses. You cross. He crosses. Me too.
Late at night. In a ditch. You were smart.
Or lucky. You worry for those who weren’t.
Because you never told. Me too.
Your sister saw leaves and mud all over
you. She knew. You knew she knew
and neither one said. Me too.
Eileen Cleary is the Assistant Poetry Editor at Carve Magazine . She’s a graduate of Lesley University’s MFA program and is a 2016 Pushcart nominee. Eileen has recently published work in Naugatuck River Review, J Journal, Westview and Apeiron.