Let’s Say

by Joseph Hardy

     your mother is an exploded planet whose pieces 
need to be kept apart, whirling in orbit around each other. 
And you get the feeling

if they ever came together—were allowed to touch— 
conscious of the all the others pieces at once, 
something terrible would happen. 

Let’s say, she’s preoccupied with how men look 
at her breasts, shares with you when you are five, 
how a man who lives around the corner

believes they are beautiful birds 
that should be freed from her bra. Something
you can’t see her sharing with your dad.

Let’s say, she’s a kind and loving person 
who has inexplicable lapses, 
does inexplicable things, 

and lies constantly—to please, and when caught 
lies again, though less-flattering truth might have 
worked just fine, 

and when ultimately exposed, becomes a child caught 
in a fib—makes you, for the purpose of the scene, the adult 
in a story you later realize, is her own.

About the author:

Joseph Hardy lives in Nashville, Tennessee. His work has been published in: Appalachian Review, Cold Mountain Review, Inlandia, Poetry City, and Poet Lore among others. He is the author of a book of poetry, “The Only Light Coming In”, Bambaz Press Los Angeles, 2020.

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