Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2019


Photograph via Flickr by skhakirov

The tragedy on today’s radio sounds like my daughter
trying to say “donuts” for the first time,

or like the chirp of the two lovebirds I loved for just
a year when I was fourteen, their eager

hiccup when I took them from their cage
and placed one on each shoulder. It could be

the voice of the waitress at Cracker Barrel,
a pen in the corner of her sour pucker,

asking if I’ve finished with my plate of soggy
pancakes, or the pop and crack of my old

neighbor’s knuckles as he grasps the axe
and takes a swing. Or maybe it’s the hushed

suck when I pull the plug from the tub drain
after the baby has peed in her bathwater

and I have to wash it out and start all over again.
It sounds far away, the way everything does

here where it’s always warm, always sunny,
where I’m always somebody’s mother

turning the pages of some forgettable picture book
on the other side of the distant world.