POETRY February 4, 2022

Mom’s Chair

On her chair, Mom would sag like a melting
                                                  candle—unlit. Bogarting

those Pall Malls that turned our curtains
                                                  to coffee

filters. Turned my sister and me into mourning
                                                  coughers. The moths

living rent-free along the lace died from the smoke.
                                                                To us

that made them second-hand siblings. We buried them in toilet
                                                                              paper coffins,

played a scratched CD, sang them down a drain.
                                                            We thought

it was rude to change the channel then turn
                                                        to stone

in front of your kids. Mom, the Lincoln Memorial
                                                          with a beauty

mark. Always so unsteady on her planet
                                                that never spun.

She never drooled but blood once trickled
                                                  from her nose.

I dabbed it with a kiss when my sister wasn’t looking. A cut straw still
                                                                                          in Mom’s pocket.

The front of her pants lightly dusted
                                            like a chalk tray.

She got itchy. Not bugs under the skin, an itch
                                                        that melted

under the nails. My sister and I picked at her
                                                       neck like

a lotto ticket. She sat with her eyes closed, insisting she
                                                                       wasn’t asleep.

The un-ashed cigarettes showered burn holes into her
                                                                  chair. Homemade

craters on the arms. A homemade planet, indeed,
                                                                        we threw away.

Alejandro Lucero is a writer from Sapello, New Mexico, by way of Denver. He serves as an assistant editor for Copper Nickel. He won the 2021 Iris N. Spencer Poetry Award and was a semifinalist for the 2021 Adroit Prize for Poetry, and his most recent work appears/is forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, The Offing, Pidgeonholes, The Pinch, Salamander, and Salt Hill, where he was a finalist for the Philip Booth Prize judged by Matt Rasmussen.