We Were the Tide

stars in the trees1
By J.D. Isip
or Mom steps onto Long Beach Boulevard

Headlights swerved past you
big and white
small and red
glowing and floating
graceful steel bodies
your favorite black negligee
Seagram’s 7, your favorite escape
bare feet on asphalt
bare legs in traffic

Twin boys in Underoos, six and skinny
eyes wide open
mouths wide open
waving in the frames between cars
Come back

I have felt the same draw
that solves the jigsaw self
by gathering the pieces
and tossing them away

Come back
We alternate in the aftermath
victim mother
villain mother
Two men in their thirties, stuck on the scene

menaced by your mania
fortified by your fears
constructing our favorite versions
variations on the scope of your destruction
numb to pain
numb to love
graceful steel bodies
glowing and floating
small boy hearts
big boy lives
desperate to swerve past you

Your eyes were looking for him,
your outstretched hands wanting
a man, a life that the tide
ever pulled you from

Goodbye, you said
Come back, we said

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