Glass Poetry Press

Volume One Issue Two

Susan Deer Cloud


You used to predict the exact date it would begin. Always in Dog Days. Hay fever when ragweed scraped air like brown sentinels dressed to kill, asthma when goldenrod bloomed into deceptions of breathtaking yellow. Every August the air you and I could not get enough of cooled into September, one more school year. Every morning at four our throats shut. We'd get up, you lit old gas oven for heat. We'd hunch near open stove door, wheeze, fight to suck oxygen in, stare at flames wavering bruise-like in black holes. I can't pretend you were a demonstrative mother. Unlike my younger sister, I don't recall your saying you loved me. Only when I couldn't breathe, when I was sickest, did I receive affection from you. The dawns when sun blossomed over trees outside kitchen window, when even in such suffering our eyes flamed blue at leaves lifting to fire — then maybe you grabbed my hand, fingers a weave of desperation, and I in the web thinking you, my mother, so beautiful as we suffocated together.