Robin Gow

FAMILY TREE

Robin Gow (Pennsylvania)

 

i planted each of my vertebrae

in hard december-bitten soil—

breathed mist—

melted earth—

 

what could my grandmother

really know of me?

what of my frayed cuticles

& coat hanger bones?

 

i’ve sewed myself again

& again— dirt smelling of her

rose petal perfume &

unlit evergreen candles—

 

if i keep planting will i find

some source of my queerness?

a cousin?

an unborn aunt?

 

no relics of my skeleton

take root & her yearning

fills up thimbles—

stitches snow drifts—

 

i think our family trees

are best seen in the winter—

bare anatomy

of repetition—

 

i found her letters in the attic

in a worn blue box—

her jaws pried

open like a coin purse—

 

metallic ping on the kitchen

floor—her lullabies are

dimes & pennies—

nickels for gum drops—

 

this was the hospital box

they used to send her home

when there was

no longer a body—

 

i step in—lay next to her

tell her i don’t believe in family trees

or adam & eve

or apples or snakes—

 

she tells me there’s better

weather for planting even

though she knows

i’m just impatient—

 

i try on her nurse’s badge &

white apron—she reads me

get well cards

like poems—

Robin Gow’s poetry has recently been published in Synaesthesia, The Write Launch, FIVE:2:ONE, and Corbel Stone Press. Robin Gow is an undergraduate student at Ursinus College studying English, Creative Writing, and Spanish. He runs two poetry blogs and serves as the production editor of the Lantern literary magazine. He is an out and proud transgender man passionate about LGBT issues.

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