I remember the road danced
when the car swerved, asphalt
sparkling like wet teeth in the dark.
We didn’t look at each other, sat still
as stopped breath in the back seats.
I remember ginger ale crowded
the counter, unwieldy bouquet
of sobriety he displayed for weeks
while diluting the cans with rum.
I remember the bruise pooled
on our brother’s face. We smoothed
his cheekbone with make-up, the powder
too pale to match his skin, so he became
a ghost. I remember the window
on the front door as it framed our father,
backlit by a yellow streetlamp.
He became a portrait pressed in gold leaf,
holding a stone above his head
like an offering. Our father, a work
of art, he was allowed to contain
multitudes. We braced for shattering
glass, but our mother opened
the door to let him back inside, his mind
already unmaking this memory
as we watched, as all of us knelt
to collect the night.
Mollie O'Leary has an MFA in poetry from the University of Washington, Seattle. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as Frontier Poetry, Poetry Online, DIALOGIST, and So To Speak. She reads for GASHER Journal. Read more of her work at mollieoleary.com.