To the Longest Day of the Year

You have come and gone, though not as quickly
as the rest, but faster than those things we wish
would spin away. My mother's mouth, for example—

her crinkled lips, a road map. We never traveled
anywhere; remained over and over and all I ever
wanted was for us to back-out. Cancer, too,

how it roots itself within the family tree, grandma's
tongue half removed, uncle's limbs tangled for months,
no amount of morphine or hands could let them loose.

The poppy, a player with its bright petals. Daddy
has been plucking for forty years. His eyes blink
like the needle

pushes. But you, great day, enter into us
knowingly. So what if you like the long goodbye
you came dressed in a gown, train inching out the door.

Rachel Mallino lives in North Carolina with her husband, daughter, and various lovable animals. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in 42opus, Weave Magazine, Stirring, Blue Fifth Review, Wicked Alice and others. In 2006, her poem "Knucklebone" placed in Sundress Publication's Best of the Net Anthology. Her first chapbook, Inside Bone There's Always Marrow, is forthcoming in April 2009 from Maverick Duck Press. She is the founding editor for Tilt Press - www.tiltpress.com. Rachel can be found blogging at www.rachelmallino.wordpress.com (rachel@tiltpress.com)

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761