Retrieve, poetry by Michelle Askin

How did you ever think you would jus­ti­fy any­thing as good,
after aban­don­ing her for sweet prayer in a stone fruit orchard
or won­der­ful deed saints you held in the know­ing? How about
your holy hand to try art: cup­ping chopped off chick­en heads
from a prison’s con­struc­tion site grav­el. You paste them by 7Up
and propane bot­tles for pic­ture, for mean­ing. What sacrifices
could ever be more mean­ing­ful than that night at Hearty Stop In Grocery?
Tell me now why you left the house made of wire for an insane woman,
who rushed you to that store for dis­tilled water to pour in her breath­ing box
so she might sleep. Always when awake, the black wall­pa­per was a stove
where her rapist step father scald­ed her baby sis­ter to death.
She thought you were the father and sought to mur­der you as the father.
Thought you were the hook­er moth­er, who saw this hap­pen the way
one sees a movie hap­pen: up close but the sto­ry is far away.
She sought to mur­der you as the moth­er too.
The clerk would sell you win­ter squash and rifles for clearance.
But you kept say­ing water and no, no dis­tilled. And she just laughed
in her wart-wide mouth. Just said, Well Kroger has that.
The only Kroger around here is closed. You tried to run,
as noth­ing was fun­ny. As the clerk shot dead sil­ver wing butterflies.
And the room became traf­fic crash debris with fast rain falling over.


My poet­ry has appeared in The North­ern Vir­ginia Review, May­Day Mag­a­zine, 2River View, Oyez Review, The Sier­ra Neva­da Review, and elsewhere.

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One Response to Retrieve, poetry by Michelle Askin

  1. ginabobina says:

    "The clerk would sell you win­ter squash and rifles for clear­ance." LOVE!

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