I’m at a graduation party
the mother of the grad is proud, boastful, weepy
kissing every flower sewn into her daughter’s crown
praising each petal lauding her achievement
—grateful they aren’t gracing her headstone—
inked into black vines and red rose tattoos she hates
that’s what she said over the mic, through the speakers,
that they’ll talk later about the permanent stains
they’re reminders to keep the crucifix close
and daughters’ bodies like Venus de Milo
alluring enough to make you forget the amputations
until she reminds the room
her gorgeous grad was depressed, suicidal
willing to take the efemera of this celebration from her
since she inspired her expectations with a full womb cradle
and overexposed visions now revisited under her inundated eyelids
before the clouds stop wringing themselves out
the sun slithers back into the room
and her rambles trip over the Bible in her throat
thanking God for their trooper
that galvanized her to recommit to her M.A. in Theology and Music
and carve out her shift on the throne of gradulatory success
patting the heads of the family and prayers that lifted her there
her and her grad share the mic for a song on overcoming
in her second speech she laments the grad’s absent voice teacher
his grandfather’s funeral kept him from attending
even though she invited him despite her dislike of his sexual preference.
Does her throat hurt yet?