Issue Twenty-Five - Winter 2015

Descriptive Narrative of Family

By Derek Sheffield

Only one student left
sitting among empty chairs,
dark hair spilling down her back 
as she mothers her essay.

	Soon I will see my family. 
	Over sweet potatoes, my sister
	will tell us of her dog and three cats, 
	how Weezer scratches her ears
	and Ally drools when she purrs. 

My student checks every sentence 
from last to first where the lead is her son
in prison, a slick of blood in starlight. 

	My sister will say, Smile, 
	and I will tell her to buy stock 
	as she takes picture after picture 
	as if to say, Here 
	are the white flowers we can't keep.

At the deserted mine, my student’s son wins 
the fight. He swings a pickaxe 
in paragraph two and drops to his knees, 
to the soft crunch of gravel.

	Last year she sketched all of us 
	standing under a white sky 
	and charcoal sun. Who will erase
	the child she cannot have? Who will blur?

Copyright 2015 Sheffield