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Portrait of My Mother with Flowers

by Brent House

How do I admit, beyond the chain
link, where needles drop

into piles like cowpies & how I flee,
I am—as blackberry stains

on hands, imperforate son, undone,
at her wedding, daughters

thin as lametta,

garland in one hand, flame
in other, bouquets white as myth

to bare her soil with hollow bones
& a mouth of chalk

as she marries a house, wraps in clay
& shelters his hurt,

deep as chrysanthemum
& iris beds, dyeing margin of a walk,

poured where she stood
after a second wedding, & my father

stood, one foot on concrete & another
in dirt, as she took the center

of the path to a scrolled gate
I opened, left, past pines, & through

a ditch, into woods, where I fed
from the floor.


Brent House is the author of The Wingtip Prophecy (April Gloaming, 2023) and a contributing editor for The Tusculum Review. His poems have appeared in journals such as Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Third Coast and Kenyon Review. He is a native of Necaise, Mississippi, where he raised cattle and watermelons on his family farm.

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