Poem | Pietà in the Living Room


Mothers possess no gland, no loom of muscle that makes oxygen
So you covered my face with a clear-plastic breast,
And mechanical as that breathing-treatment, you tended
To the droplets on the inside of my mask.

I can still feel you untucking me from sheets,
Sweat sticking like burial shrouds as you carried me
To your lap, draped me across armrests to make me
Comfortably some part of you, an overflowing limb.

My dreams were the legs of that rocking-chair
Infinitely arcing toward their current location,
And as we moved love was weight on the loose
Wooden joints that sang like the choking bird I was.

But your hopes were steadier. They had to be
Something closer to the moon moving the tide
Of breath within me, whiter than the towel
You used to wipe away all the life I wouldn’t swallow.

Published in the May 19, 2017 issue: 

Kyle J. Bassett earned his MFA at Arizona State University and is currently a PhD student at Texas Tech. His work has previously appeared or is scheduled to appear in The Unrorean, The McNeese Review, Texas Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Kyle is the Web Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review and is currently working on a book-length project centered around the cult-classic television show, Red Dwarf.

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