Mom Says It's Time To Go

Poetry by Eva Neuman

Lace up shoes. Run to car. Quiet. Breathe through fingers. Piano fingers. Long and thin. Too narrow for any ring. Heavily hydrated. Bumble rush of spring. Bright purple sunset peaks over horizon. In the distance, cigar smoke and a pile of ash. In the distance, dad hits mom. In the distance, sirens. I am eighteen years old. Tomorrow, I will graduate high school in a Catholic church. Surrounded by mom and brother while dad sneaks in the back, lined up for communion. Then, a midnight drive to Austin. Then, Taxi Driver on the big screen. Then, a new life starts. Breathe through fingers. I saw dad hit mom through the window. I hid in my room. I watched youtube videos under the covers, volume loud. I remembered five red stitches on mom’s forehead. I wondered if she really fell in the dark. The last tense Thanksgiving. Damaged home. Never enough money. Broken tailbone. All the booming arguments tuned out with time. Breathe through fingers. Run to car. Text Isaac – don’t come home. Don’t watch distance in the rearview mirror. Do hold your mom’s hand. Remind her to swallow pills. Retrieve ice from hallway. Check for bedbugs under motel sheets. Smash a roach before she sees it. Let her sleep. Quiet. Breathe through fingers. Run to car in the morning. Sneak inside home. Steal ceremony robes and high-heels. A makeup bag. Cover bruises and tear-stains. Hold head high. Breathe through fingers.

Published 21st July, 2023.

Eva Neuman is a lesbian poet and screenwriter based in East Texas. Originally from the Texas hill country, her work shows a particular interest in the intersections and inherent contradictions between rural and queer life. She is currently obtaining a bachelors degree in creative writing at The University of Houston.

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