SPLIT THIS ROCK: Poems of Provocation
Teri Ellen Cross
My mother tells me quickly not rushed but in one breath.
Your brother’s wheelchair rolled down the driveway. He fell.
His choice of curse words for this circumstance was a very quiet
oh shit. She reveals the details of his stitches in measured
she’s in familiar territory now — they gave him fentanol,
eating, tells me, mommy it hurts, I’m keeping him out of school
for a few days. Our conversation turns to standard fare—financial
lamentations about weight. The quiver having passed through us for now,
even the phone line’s static has subsided. The boy will be fine
But the image makes laps in my brain. I see the curved black tongue
of the driveway, its mouth opening to the residential street. The eagerness
to spill my brother into some red Taurus’ unsuspecting bumper.
that makes a raucous thirteen year-old boy whisper oh shit, oh shit,
How his rough hands must have fumbled for the brakes. Lap after lap
I see my brother captive as the chair hurtles over ground, toward
green and freedom from a mother’s constant worry.
Ellen Cross holds an MFA in Poetry from American University.
She was a Cave Canem fellow and her poems can be found in many anthologies
including Bum Rush the Page: a Def Poetry Jam, Gathering
Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem's First Decade, Growing
Up Girl, and will be featured in the upcoming summer issue of Gargoyle
and the Poetic Voices Without Borders 2 anthology. She lives
in Silver Spring, MD with her husband, poet Hayes Davis.
in Volume 9, Number 1, Winter 2008.
more by this author:
Cross: Intro to The Evolving City issue, Vol. 8, No. 4, Fall 2007
Ellen Cross: Tenth Anniversary Issue