I drive my mother home because the train
is late, because her hands shake, because
my brother doing push-ups after he lost
a bet had all of us fearing the explosion
in his chest and what are family reunions for?
Food. Too much wine. A kickball in the gut.
When I pulled the folding chair from its bag,
unused for a year, a nest of mice tumbled out
all stolen cotton fluff, shredded paper, trembling
like a dropped heart in the grass. The mother,
a baby still attached to her milk, ran for it,
watched the rest of the day from a tree’s branches
her babies scattered and blind. We discussed cruelty
and survival, circled our chairs like stagecoaches.
Isn’t each family a new frontier, in its way?
Spreading out into unknown places, each child
a satellite shot into the dark above. My mother
wants me to spend the night—such a long drive
to get her safely home—but the car is already
pointing away, has a full tank, I even bought
a coffee in the biggest size they sold just
so I could kiss her on the cheek and say no.