She gave me away at birth yet mother’s
blood shrieks rampantly through my veins.
It’s five in the morning and I tell myself

to lighten up – things could be worse –
and as if on cue a homeless man comes
dragging everything he owns like un-

confessed sins behind him down the street.
He’s half wrapped in his sleeping bag
which trails like a weeping wound – one

unwashed shoulder exposed to reveal how
grime has become skin, I see him daily as
I sit in my walker smoking a cigarette. He’s

never asked to bum one. Refusing to hand
out smokes is all the socializing I get. Sea
air this morning smells like an abandoned

refrigerator – door hanging ajar – having
basked too long in the sun or it could just be
me I smell – fled from sweaty sheets to smoke

my first cigarette of the day. It’s getting harder
to separate odors during these days of eternal
heat that linger too long – unwelcome guests.

Odors congeal like the shrieking voice that
rises inside my head whenever some stranger
speaks to me. I’ve never felt safe inside my

skin with this bastard’s blood running rough
shod through my veins. Imagining a mother
is a lonely child looking through a room

where a family’s round a table on Christmas
Eve with the food and cutlery smiling and
laughing with each other. But this bastard

knows Christmas dreams are childhood
make believe and that smiles cast around
a table could become a hundred knives.