separate from her blood by fate
called to a day in court
witness for expiation
and reckoning
judgment before man

object or a life
standing in the hallway
like a penny on the floor
ready to cry
acting as if brave
holding her gramma’s hand

your enemy today
who was your mother
when you could love

you caused this.
now you petition God
to have her heart.

stranger in a robe
speaks to suits and dresses
money and responsibility

it’s 10:35 now
your pique blums red. why does it
drag on so, like a bad movie
you think I’ll go to the bathroom
come back sane and better
like the visitation 
then address formalities of concern

steps of recovery
meant for honest souls
are an affliction
they burn the horizon
willingness stillborn in your craving.

we know that you won’t listen
til the steel door locks behind you
or you slide into the wall
a short file laid on marble
name tag on a blue toe

that’s how they said it was with Helen
not even a decent dress to wear
not a decent interval for grief, how trite
the family said in the rental limo

after they shifted her story to the ground
and what to do with the little girl then