Just like that a barge drifted from my throat, listing
from icy Nordic waters to the warm Mississippi Delta.
Just like that I shook the moon from its claw
and realized funnel cake magic was just powdered sugar.
Just like that a concussion became a memory of betrayal, a pack
toted off on the missing hump of a camel.
Just like that I made peace with heaven
and whether or not I was going to be invited to the after party.
Just like that I traded in my many dresses for one
then crawled out of that one and got on with my day.
Just like that my dad—well, yeah, him.
Just like that my mother’s pointer finger
landed on Mars and transmitted satellite info
from the worm in her bosom
to the flower in my breast
from the yowl of her silence
to the om of my omniscience
from her sidewinding
to my stomping through
from her branding and rebranding our life
to my five-word review: Lunch. Table. Eat. Starve. Repeat.
from her stomped blossoms and overburdened nightgowns
to my room with a slit of mirror and salty lamp light.
Just like that, mom came and went.
When she touched me, she made no touches show
and when she put on her face, a show for the millions,
the laugh track guffawed at full force slobbering vodka to gin.
Just like that, God doles out her punishment
in the form of unfettered happiness
and we are forced to build a stronger fort
or ram our pole into the mud and push off
from the creek’s sandy bank
toward a farther, glittering shore.
Mia Leonin is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Chance Born (Anhinga Press), as well as a memoir, Havana and Other Missing Fathers (University of Arizona Press). A book-length poem, Fable of the Pack Saddle Child, was published by BkMk Press in 2018 with illustrations by Cuban artist, Nereida García Ferraz. Leonin has written extensively about theater and culture for the Miami Herald, New Times, and other publications. She teaches creative writing at the University of Miami.