Maybe that’s the hazard in not caring who the person is inside the meat you’re butchering. You never know if that cow is sacred and capable of reincarnating herself into a fire- breathing she-bull and reducing you and your world to ash and manure
to be forked into the compost pile with all the rest of the world’s shit—used to grow whatever nasty things can grow
blooming weeds that grow on the empty graves of all the other calfs you slaughtered who have since risen in rage at the she-bull’s call.
Mourn for yourselves at those empty graves putrid ashen shit flowers, droop and die cycle through your agony endlessly.
I hope this is the last time my Tired ass leaves the seat of This gray vinyl hospital chair Turned forty-five degrees to My mother’s gray blanketed Hospital bed. She’s being Discharged today to better things I hope.
Today—leaving day— Is the first day I noticed there is Color in this room. I have nothing Poetry profound to say about This presence—the coral and blue. Nothing you can carry in your pocket when Your mom attempts slow suicide too by Refusing to eat—to comfort you. To Reckon the anger. All the anger.
Except to say the color is there. The color is there, aloof Of whether you see it or not.
But do see it. See the color. It’s there.
-M. Ashley photo taken at Kaiser Ontario Hospital, Ontario, CA
There’s crying in the wallpaper that drips July swelter. Little girls and little boys and bigger girls and bigger boys go here to die. I can feel them everywhere. Their spirits got loose but they are as lost as I am in this dripping house in this heavy, hungry forest where no one would find us, and certainly no one would hear us and they see this horror go down and down and down and they want to take their big eyes off if but they’re scared of the forest and the wet in the forest and all those millions of insects ready to eat them alive and pick their bones. I wish I could tell them they don’t have meat and bones to pick anymore and they can just go and float up through the suffocating green and god wants them but I don’t know that.
Windows with closed mouths Wallpaper scrubbed clean An antique porcelain tub Where no one drowned An unfinished basement Where no one clawed and cried No horrors under the floorboards No broken furniture to remember No shadows in the closets No starvation in the dining room Unused door locks Original doors Gently closed
A smorgasbord of inspiration Laid on the table—trauma The bitter bean salad No one will touch and The cook would sooner Abandon her Tupperware Than admit she’s the one Who brought the bitter beans To the funerary feast.