For My Parents



Make the house leaves. Make the windows impenetrable. 
I will climb from underground with my dry bark heart
still pulsing for you

the old rhythm of dead humans once painted
just as freshly not breathing as my first day
outside paradise.

If I could thank you still
it would be for your obliviousness.
I got to keep the child you wanted.

What are needs when there are orange leaves exploding
from the roof. Here from the top of the earth
no fire would be built to make me forgiving. We would

never have to stand upright again. Four feet. Four hands. 
Bellies hanging with branches. 
Make the love that never had room for me

then stay alive 
the remote between you blinking.

Elizabeth Metzger is the author of The Spirit Papers, winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry. Her second collection, Lying In, will be published in 2023 by Milkweed Editions. She is a poetry editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

[Purchase Issue 24 here.]

For My Parents

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