My Mother Is a Metaphor for Leaving

by Trust Tonji

a boy is playing his guitar
his mum is singing to its rhythms
pretending she isn’t dying soon

the cloud is eating up the sun
swallowing the day off our lives
& we call it sunset

believe me 
love is perishable
I know this because my mother
is dead

so here is a body with no flesh
a mouth with no songs
another forest with no trees

grandma said
sometimes the smokes keep flying
long after the fire’s dead

my baby says she wants to love me
like mother did 
I say no

don’t bother to mother me
I do not want to watch another 
mother vanish, becoming tear gas
in the eyes of grief

I do not want to knock and remember
no one is there, anymore
I do not want to make a museum
out of your name

this pain is fat enough to not
need any more calories

if, only, you’d be my tears
if you’d be my tears
I’ll be too afraid to let you 
flow out freely like this
like this . . .

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