Monday, July 9, 2012

A poem by April Salzano

Swollen Tongue

It’s been that kind of day. Your
girlfriend, in from Milwaukee, woke
with a swollen tongue, unable to spit
or swallow, but maybe able to talk,
our eight year old tells me later. Pulled from under
covers, untangled, I drove 83 miles to relieve you
of our sons. They had been with you nearly
24 hours. Too long. Your reasoning:
something about $3.00 in gas she had
no car she flew here we are moving to
Wisconsin together tomorrow temporarily and if
you are getting remarried anyway, we would
like to live in your house just deed it back. Her tongue
is what? Three dollars
won’t get you to
your destination. The line I drew
2 years ago is beginning
to blur. You know nothing of my repeat
mammogram tomorrow, of dense
heterogenous fibroglandular tissue or
nodular asymmetry present in the anterosuperior
right breast, the one that provided consistently
2 ounces less at each nursing, and dried up
2 years before the left. You know nothing of
the fact that my sister won’t babysit
tomorrow because she is getting her picture taken
for the church directory. Of aloneness.
Of unfortunate dependency relieved only
by the mercy of others. Of the crying in the backseat
from Knox, westward across I-80, all the way to Mercer,
for the misrepresentation of both history
and current events. Of the magnitude of misperception.
Her swollen tongue is beckoning like an emergency,
to which I, to which you, to which our children, must
respond as if it once provided their sustenance.

April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in Poetry Salzburg, Pyrokinection, Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Rainbow Rose, The Camel Saloon, The Applicant, The Mindful Word, Napalm and Novocain and is forthcoming in Jellyfish Whispers, The South Townsville Micro Poetry Journal, and Inclement. She is working on her first collection of poetry and an autobiographical novel examining the beauty and pain involved in raising a child with Autism.

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