Once my mother told me
I should be grateful
not to have
against the bobbing of blooming
lily pads, I find myself
surrounded in the loud solitude
of squealing birds and young children.
We are all hungry for different things.
A child looks across the lake.
toward a piece of bread near
the deepest point.
preoccupied with her phone call,
doesn’t wipe the drool
from his chin — or scoop him
up when he comes close
to the edge of the water.
When my father finally
over-doses nobody will find him—
body rolling cold on his floor.
Who can grieve, now?
Whether the death of their child, not
yet born —
Or their father, still
Still on the water, the ducks
have rested — bobbing listlessly
Soggy white bread sinks
to the bottom of the lake.
A man emerges, from the woods —
holding a camera in his unmarked left hand.
In the only picture of us,
my father is freshly married, one hand
on his plump bride. One on my sister, who is smiling.
Fresh pink flowering on my pre-pubescent body.
I can remember a time
my father pulled me onto his shoulders
Everyone will hurt
you. Don’t forget that.
Alexis Groulx’s work has been previously published, or is forthcoming in Ayris, After the Pause, Blue Lyra Review, Gravel, Off the Coast, Smoky Quartz, and Sun & Sandstone. She lives in New Hampshire.