Mom is looking sad again-
I’ve got a bad back, she says
but she keeps working
at the restaurant even when it turns
to midnight, one am, two.
She makes lunch and tells
brother it’s iguana, he cries
he’d rather have chicken than iguana.
Mom thinks she’s funny even though she has the sad eyes
Time to go to work says the brown eyes
that look like brothers eyes too.
He cries because she has to leave
mom don’t go
he says, two fingers running away through the holes
in the blue shirt.
When she escapes behind the big white door,
all brother can see is her hair
up in the butterfly clip again, hair like sand
if you’ve never seen sand before.
She paints the walls pink like flamingos
upside down in ash. Brother runs inside,
slamming the big white door behind him
I want walls red like ketchup
Ok, you want walls red like ketchup.
Sad eyes washes brothers red hair in the tub
with the blue bucket and the yellow
stain sad eyes can’t scrub out.
you are my best friend right mama?
brother is afraid of everything now.
Yes I am your best friend,
brown eyes says when she drains the tub,
she sees black everywhere.
It smells like plastic when mom grabs the needle,
I don’t want to die mom
Ok, so you won’t
Brother pinches the moon
between the index and the thumb
until it disappears on the car ride away
from the biggest white room-
you will be ok now
sad eyes says
even if it is a lie blown
up like a big balloon.
I will be your best friend forever
even if it is a lie small
Sad eyes has cigarettes
in her wrinkles now,
even when brother says
Time to quit now, time to quit,
Brother is on the floor
now, red over his face
when his body shakes
too hard that his head
forgets to come back up again.
you will be ok now
sad eyes says,
with a big white milkshake
and the plastic smell
shaking in her hands
Sad eyes sits outside
plus one more wrinkle
plus one more shake
in her hands that she can’t shake
this time or the next time-
ok, time to go to work now.