Urban Tumbleweed

— Cynthia Manick

At first I thought it was just apertures
and light, my father lifting the trunk—
shades of my suitcases and his back

bent down. Our ritual of airport
pick-ups and half-speak normal—
except for the well-used baby stroller

covered like an almost secret.
He wades away from my gaze,
questions the weight of brass arrows.

Am I urban tumbleweed?
Remembered only through cornea
side-glances, green M&M’s fingerprints

I smudged on dashboards as a child.
Is he making new tribes? Swiping
teeth from pillows, leaving dollar

bills instead of quarters. I know
he stopped smoking recently but
in pictures my five-year old barrettes

smell like Newport’s, fast food, Al
Green melodies, and fights or loud
silence at a kitchen table at night.

Has he taken them to daycare with
pencil holders shaped like trains?
Do they have nicknames? My mouth

tries to open—but instead I make bee
colonies and dune bugs light-hearted
in poems so we don’t have to speak.

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