A family, no farm, a bottle
emptied; drunk till the thinnest brown moon
half-circled its base.
Outside, the Sapello sun robbed the land
of its fruit and flower. All the rainfall sucked
back through some straw
in the sky.
The clouds fat
with what they wouldn’t give us. We once heard cackles
between the gaps
in the stratus. We saw a fire
start out of drought, felt
the smoke bruise our eyelids. Purpled
and puckered, those petals withered, too. Inside,
a television buzzed
into the cold mornings.
Between the bathroom walls
a cut straw plugged
Mom’s nose. Two more pills always tucked
inside her menthol pack.
A dry wind would kick
our roof at night. We woke up next to notebooks
scribbled with another night’s dream.
Dad kicked doors. Slammed them
on his own fingers.
His voice broke us
down like that plastic Christmas tree
hiding in the closet.
Except for those weeks we saw the red lights glow
from the highway
just like you did.