Christine Darragh


for Lois

You sip brines of summer-bright fruits
that stay themselves, outlast frost. Hidden
away in sealed jars engraved with
expirations—embalmed numerology.
Preserving every crime, you’ve stored
each in a vault of mislaid affection—
dank cellar full—a lifetime cataloged
in tears, shelved and inaccessible
memories: Inebriated parents, a
quarter’s-worth of bribed silence
that purchased Saturday afternoon
double features; Shotgun wedding,
quintet of children, husband whose
final offense is forgetting; A daughter
forced to undo flesh, reverse her own
hapless motherhood. Bloodguilt
ripens on hands that admit nothing
we could mistake for vulnerability.
What stands in for love, sours. Now
formless, lurid—rocking alone in
opaque oceans—you’ve been cured
at last. In your mouth, an acid tongue.

CHRISTINE DARRAGH is a hand-bookbinder living and writing in Ann Arbor, MI. She appreciates a vivid description and the occasional obscure word. She writes because after a while, one’s gripes grows old. Her work has been published previously in Structo.