Mark Danowsky

Locked Out
Overtaken by panic, my mother
Threw a brick through an old
And expensive to fix window
So I could climb over shards
Onto the living room couch
Unlock the front door
Not long before my father
Returned home from the office 
And I do not remember anything said
Though I’m sure he was unhappy 

The Night Before My Mother's Heart Surgery
Instead of doing anything
I may have suspected
I stay up until 2am
recording myself 
as I read 
39 of my favorite
poems to myself 
as if these are steps 
that lead to rest

Mother Gone

One night grieving
three weeks out
that fleeting moment when 
for the manyth time it hits me  
there will never be another call
and still my own clock continues 
its cruel steady turn
toward the next reckoning

What does one grief teach us
about another?
I became the storm’s eye
Our old messages to each other—
so much saying made it
back safe
Lots of good & glad & love you
Visible where the sky has broken   

Mother's Day
Years ago, you were furious
when your brother said
he couldn’t take ibuprofen
because he drank too much
I said I could not share a flight 
of beer, fearing
I had something 
I tested negative too late
I waited too long 
to choose approval
No one else cares enough
to shake their head now 
While there was time—
I wish there were more sighs 
of relief 

Loss Language

As losses pile up
you begin to speak this language
I could not see, younger
how words cannot be enough
The learned need to hover 
head down over stovetop
Because scaffolding
comes not without labor
Tableside, hopeful
I look for signs this is enough

A meal in place 
of all I can no longer voice

My Mother’s First Visit After Her Death
Four months after her death
My mother visits me in a dream
In the basement of a house
Our family no longer owns
Before she arrives
My father is oddly fixing things
Though in a perfectly standard way for him
He is saying not to throw away junk 
We are never going to need
For MacGyvering purposes
I cannot remember the last time
Music was playing in a dream
Music was playing…
A whole playlist it seems
When my mother arrives
“November Rain” is on  
Mom asks, Who sings this?
I say, Axl Rose
And she says, No, that can’t be right
And I say, It’s Guns N’ Roses
She shakes her head
For a moment we’re just  
Listening to Guns N’ Roses
And I’m wishing the music playing
was something she liked
And this is not a lucid dream
And then because I’m always foolishly talking
I say, I haven’t seen you in four months
And we’re going to argue about Axl Rose?
And then of course she disappears
And I’m alone in the basement
Of the house taken from my family

Mark Danowsky is Editor-in-Chief of ONE ART: a journal of poetry, Senior Editor for Schuylkill Valley Journal, and a Regular Contributor for Versification. He is author of the poetry collection As Falls Trees (NightBallet Press). His work has appeared in Bird Watcher’s Digest, Cleaver Magazine, Gargoyle, The Healing Muse, and elsewhere.
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