» Poetry

After Daddy

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

–Genesis 2:24

Every mornin I ask Mama,
Why do your eyes look like torn

screens? I say, Mama your flies

are gettin in the house again.
I swat at my ears, then
lift the toilet lid and find clear
wings floatin, black bellies pinned in
still water. Go on and pee, she says. Don’t
need to flush ‘em first.
When Mama scoops her coffee
grounds, she buries a family alive
while coughin antennae up onto
the shelf of her molars.
Says it tickles when she bites down.
The dog snaps at the air.
Each time he catches one, we three circle up

and howl. Our songs blanket the buzz through

the afternoon and shimmy the ash in the mantle

urn. By then we’re good and exercised,
arms quivering from reachin, palms gut sticky.

Mama, is this called slap-happy?
She tells me to go wash up for dinner.
She prays: God, bless this food to
our body. Bless those who cannot be
with us today.        Amen.
I pinch a maggot outta my
pie and wonder how many get
past our lips unseen.
Every night, as she’s fallin asleep,
I lean in slow and close
and I tell my Mama,
Mama, I think we got ‘em all.



Cyndie Randall

Cyndie Randall’s poems appear or are forthcoming in Frontier Poetry, DIAGRAM, Crab Creek Review, Longleaf Review, Pithead Chapel, The Pinch, and others. She works as a therapist in a small town near Lake Michigan and is also a poetry contributing editor at Barren Magazine. Find her on Twitter @CyndieRandall or at cyndierandall.com.