Jane Springer

After the Fire Items # 6-10, Living Room
May 23, 2020 Springer Jane

After the Fire Items # 6-10, Living Room
Mom said ‘Take them for the gold & don’t pay off my credit card debt,
& you are the captain of your own destiny—there’s no free lunch.
Powder your legs, makes hose slip on, & clear nail polish stops a run—
don’t waste cash on a baby teether when fried chicken bones work
best. Work is finished while turkeys are done & cows get raised while
children get reared & don’t say Ma’am or Sir—plantation terms that
pay respect to overseer’s ilk.’
You, alchemist. Whose mouth pays service to material debt—what if
your mother became her word & your word, hers. An ink blot
rolling in the forest’s womb each morning, you walk in the soul’s
condition, being still for a time—a bodiless presence that may form
a burrow under your feet or take easy to flight wherever is no
gold sunlight, yet, to make possible discrimination—to tell Eve’s
underwear apart from a leaf.
She believed the fillings from her 4 molars would pay for college, your
dentist said more like 10 dollars, each. They glinted in a bowl of
pottery shards & creeped out guests who wondered could ya’ll be
Zodiac killers? You miss this about your mother, too, how ladders
became broke ribs needing one false step. ‘Aunt Enda’s lost all her
teeth not brushing,’ she said, haunting the day’s dull cavity with thrills
of What if, Maybe, It Seems.

Jane Springer is the author of Dear Blackbird, and Murder Ballad. Forthcoming is Moth. Her work’s been featured in The Best American Poetry and Pushcart anthologies, and she’s received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacDowell Artist’s Colony, and the Whiting Foundation.