23 February 2014

BADLY by Christy Gualtieri

A woman talks, sips coffee.

Her face
was burned once.

Her nose is as flat and large
as a Muppet’s
and her upper lip is gone.

It’s been said that
the last word John Wilkes Booth
muttered was
meaning his hands, meaning everything.
Her mouth, too, is useless:
a gaping hole, a vacuum tube
forever bent out of shape.

I stare at her.
I try not to think of my mother,
of the tumor that has hijacked
the side of her face,
lassoing it so that her smile
is not a smile anymore,
just a straight line
where I
and my brothers
and my father
used to be.

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