This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Lucky by Amy Watkins, released by Bottlecap Press in 2019. Each poem is an answer to a prompt from Facebook’s “Did You Know” widget, innocuous questions that become risky when answered honestly: “A toy I always wanted but never had,” “One thing my dad always told me,” “If I could bring one person back to life…” The past, like the rural Florida landscape, is beautiful and dangerous.
The longest I’ve gone without sleep…
content warning for domestic violence, drug use
After Stacey, things really fell apart.
You could blame grief or drugs.
You could blame poverty or my parents’
fear of counseling. Years later, my mother admitted,
“I was afraid they would say I should leave him
or leave the church.” But she did leave
my father. After he switched from pot
to something meaner. After he broke
the framework around the bathroom door
and smashed the wood through drywall.
After he said, “This hurts so bad;
if I really loved you and the kids,
I wouldn’t let you live through it.”
She took us all the way to Michigan
for about a week then brought us home.
My father said, “I promise. I promise. I promise.”
She said, “I was trying to save us.”
My grandfather said, “We won’t speak of this again.”
My grandmother said, “You should have come to me.”