By Ina Brix
For All That I Can't Remember
In time, you became my mother,
My father, and I, your
Your eyes shined like red-lit
Cigarettes in the dark.
You took my no for surrender.
For all that I don't remember,
I can't forget this.
I retrace my steps.
Your eyes burned into me,
Making memory, making me
Believe for years
That I could not be worthy.
That I am.
I live on in your reckless husk.
All that you ever wanted, and
Your greatest disappointment.
I should have told you,
Although I didn't know then:
I don't surrender to anything
Except creation. You made me
By adopting me, and
I adopted your sins.
For all that I don't remember—
If you were alive,
You'd give me a list—
I shine with what I've been given,
But it also does me in.
I am yours, plucked from the gutter—
A queer motherfucker.
I can't forget this.
Preening feathers to clean. Black,
Sleek sheen of purple and green—
His own bold colors an oil slick.
Subtle, regal. Owner of the scene.
Male of the species. His yellow eye
Stares at me, handsome and pale.
Like my grandfather's, and oh, I
Can see why my grandmother fell
So in love, so fast. He too strutted.
Looked dangerous. “We'll have to
Marry soon. You're testing my virginity!”
Yes, she actually said that at 18. 1940.
They married and his number came up,
Drafted by the Army. WWII tested
Them both. My grandfather, shot—
Shot through the face and almost died.
Pale eye startling, skin slack on one side.
My grandmother, her eyes red every day.
A baby. After the war, thank God, another
On the way. My father. Same eyes. I also
Have that color. At the moment, I match
Here eye to eye with Brewer's Blackbird,
Pale yellow that some call piercing green.
This bird, what of his female offspring?
Females, also medium in size, but plain,
Brown, and thin. Darkest on wings and tail.
With a dark eye, although some have pale.
Are these female birds inwardly like me?
Ungendered, inside neither male nor female—
Pale yellow eye an outward sign, a signal.
You harvest muscles
Beneath fertile soil
Of your firm flesh.
Their names, Latin,
Like those of plants.
Their rhythm, Latin,
Like this music.
You tango, lift
Yourself in silks.
If they danced
On a plate like this,
All children would
Happily eat their
If they flirted
Under golden skin
Like this, every
Snow White would
Gladly sink her teeth
Into poisoned apples.
Round and delicious.
A starred constellation.
Perfect holy trinity.
About the Author
Ina Brix is the pen name for a writer who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Under the name Ina Brix, you will find poetry published in Chaleur Magazine online and print issues, as well as Carbon Culture Review Online. One of Ina Brix’s short stories is published within an anthology (Bold Strokes Books). She is currently completing a novel.