Academic journal article TriQuarterly

Block Bebe

Academic journal article TriQuarterly

Block Bebe

Article excerpt

Each night, steam-bright, a cooling slice of moon dangles from my doortop. For seconds I believe I'm dreaming the white-blue flare, the shuddering ash-stub, my uncle's legs.

This dream a life. Blankets frame my breasts as I float awake to a lamplit face against the jamb. Tugging

my baby's hand, my lover escorts her for her goodnight kiss, his cough inquiring when and if I'm ready.

I'm never when he's in me, caught in the mesh of my daughter's howls, imagining-- moving with him--her fists beating crib slats,

eyes hellish with weeping when I shift suddenly loose, steal breath and space until, freed, the stinging arc of my ribs

releases. Then, in my mouth, the silt and grit of memory, pungent as an orange. Tasteless as the blahblahblah of days, and again I'm the block bebe

in Rousseau's primitive painting, my wooden infant face mottled ivory-pink, paralyzed with rage as, "pour feter" only I dangle my marionette uncle from his strings, his upside-down heat

irradiant in every pore of his after-shaven face when he presses, slowly as he dares, the still-flaring cigar between my left foot's middle toes. …

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