Signing Forms

artist: Seamlessoo

by Catherine Zickgraf

That December,
home from school,
I’d finish my shift at 3 a.m.

My hands cracked gripping the wheel.
My breath froze in my lungs
I though they’d turn to stone.

The houses, too, were hollow.
The road, too, unlit.
My job was to go home.

I sat on the steps one afternoon
with my morning coffee
and watched:

My younger brothers and baby sister,
all teenagers and all friends,
laced white lights through the tree.

Mom, with broken limbs,
was spared her life that Thanksgiving.
I couldn’t comfort,
I could only watch.

I’d creak down the stairs
in the middle of the night
and rest my head on her
door.

I couldn’t touch her because I was
not theirs anymore, children
not mine anymore
I unbuckled back by the road.

Fluorescent islands
I left behind
as choices unchosen.

I could have flown
off the bridge
and down to the creek
without parting the fog.

That bridge is where
Mom almost died,
one month away from Christmas.

But something cushioned
her crash that night
She said an angel—I don’t know.

That December,
home from school,
after finishing my shift one night,

I parked on the shoulder
and pondered that crash and
how it crumpled my Mother’s legs.

But something kept
my feet on the ledge,
the moon shivering in
the ripples below.

___

Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry in her hometown of Augusta, Georgia and beyond. Her work has appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pank, Victorian Violet Press and The Grief Diaries. Her recent chapbook, Soul Full of Eye, is published through Aldrich Press.