by Jane Rosenberg LaForge

Theirs was a marriage of skin
conditions, heartbreak and
rashes, wrapped in a perilous
geography: concrete for her,
and his pocked valleys.
My mother preferred to barrel
through the sand and brick
mixture, always becoming
and not quite being; my father
collapsed at the first sight of
a blister, the suggestion of
fire within the mountain,
the graze of insects and itching.
He begged the only person he
could for relief. She switched
on the tub, scalding in degrees
with bicarbonate she could put
to better use in the kitchen, but
touch was his heightened sense,
like the blind who hear more deeply.
In his ears, a pounding beyond
currents, to cover her soothing
and lax sympathies. I heard him
moan on these occasions, through
the bathroom door, a scaling
of heights prior to slipping
and falling into a ceaseless
ravine, my mother’s resolve
stiffened and smited, at having
been caught in a disturbing intimacy.

Jane Rosenberg LaForge lives in New York. She is the author of a novel, The Hawkman: A Fairy Tale of the Great War (Amberjack Publishing 2018); a memoir, An Unsuitable Princess (Jaded Ibis Press 2014); four poetry chapbooks, and two full-length collections, including Daphne and Her Discontents (Ravenna Press 2017). Three generations of her family lived in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and her mother grew up on River Street during the Great Depression.