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Heavy Blue Veins: Watts, 1959

ISSUE:  Summer 2015

Heavy blue veins streak across my mother’s legs,
Some of them bunched up into dark lumps at her ankles.
Mama periodically bleeds them to relieve the pain.
She carefully cuts the engorged veins with a razor
And drains them into a porcelainlike metal pail
Called a tina.
I’m small and all I remember are dreams of blood,
Me drowning in a red sea, blood on sheets, on the walls,
Splashing against the white pail in streams
Out of my mother’s ankle.
But they aren’t dreams.
It is Mama bleeding—into day, into night.
Bleeding a birth of memory: My mother, my blood,
By the side of the bed, me on the covers,
And her slicing into a black vein
And filling the pail into some dark, forbidding
Red nightmare, which never stops coming,
Nevers stops pouring,
This memory of Mama and blood and Watts.


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