Ashley ValmereFinding a muddy path through el Bosque de Chapultepec (digital capture)

I know it’s not classical tragedy.
My brother is not rotting
in the sun. My sister, if I had one,
would support me. My uncle
sent a fern to the hospital.
My brother’s soccer team, a card.

Four buckets to unsoak
the sidewalk’s red. Two coats
to cover up the all-cap
FAG on the garage door.
His jersey may never come clean.

No one cut out anyone’s tongue.
I am not sewing this poem.
But when I pushed the blade
into my arm to make a mark
of my sorrow, I felt the Virgin Mary
aka Demeter aka Antigone
aka Patti Smith (for now)
stroke my hair. I know it’s not
the same as benediction
but I think she gets it.


Annette Oxindine