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Tag: francine j. harris

doubt

Because you were overweight and wore chains of turquoise

because you were my mother

because you were crazy at the time

because you hadn’t, you said, had sex in five years

because you were crazy at the time and because the pallor of your skin

was changing

because your daughter, my sister, stood head shaking while we held

your voice on the phone and because your daughter, my sister said you were

making it all up

because the room didn’t move when you came home and no one got you water

because you were crazy at the time and the woman becoming chameleon, skin jade and

bloated eyes before me was not my mother

because you were white

because it happened four doors down, if it happened, so you said

because I had played with his daughter as a young girl and once as a young girl I caved in

her stomach with my foot, she sank

because she called him Daddy the way not all little girls get to do

because you wore polyester flowers and because he was thick-moustached and drank dark rum

at his living room shag rug bar

because your husband didn’t kill him

because you wouldn’t let us call the police since you were crazy at the time and thought

they’d take you away, 3 a.m.

because they had taken you away before when you called the police on your husband,

my father

because you were overweight

because you called home several times that night to report

you were still o.k. and would be home as soon as he

let you leave

because your husband didn’t kill him

because I couldn’t see you over the phone

because over the years no one has said much when you bring it up

because my father didn’t kill him

because you were crazy at the time and because as it has happened over the years, I would not

react the same, react the same, would not react

because we knew his name

because you had been jealous of his wife, her mother, before she left him, the beverly, tall and

prance, rose-eyed and peppercorn about mahogany tulip mouth, because you

often accused my father of wanting her

because you cried

because I don’t remember you coming home that night

because Daddy didn’t kill

any of them

because it was easier not to.

from play deadFind more by francine j. harris at the library

Copyright © 2016 francine j. harris
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.