Salem Commander is a poet and graphic designer from Florida. They are working on a book and actually sticking to social media this year, help them out by following @nemsyfizzles.
2 prose poems
by Salem Commander
By the time she’d had me, my mother had begun to slow down. Like a hurricane, building strength before the shore, hammering the coast. Inland had the best of it. It became no more than a heavy, gray sky.
No one got to see the sun, but thank God it didn’t rain anymore. Now perhaps, the floodwater can be rerouted. The debris can be picked up, hauled away, destroyed into chippings. But no one came to do any of that. The trees rotted where they fell. All kinds of bugs bred in the stale water. Glass was shattered in the streets.
My mother was a devastating hurricane, killing everyone in her wake who had been unfortunate enough to stay. Years later, what the earth had not reclaimed laid exactly where it fell.
I am the only one here. A rain came every now and again, but what else was there to do other than to pick myself up? I had thrown myself to the wind many times, hoping to be whisked away, to drown in the waters. It never happened like in Plath’s poems. I was just alone and scared. I was tired.
Everyone else seemed to be just as tired. My aunt’s head peacefully dipped under the swollen sea at the age of 87. Other aunts and uncles and cousins did the same. Some seas were shallow bathtubs, while others were deep and narrow bottlenecks. Either way, they were eaten by scavengers. There was nothing left to remember of them.
Their flesh will eventually rot. Their bones will whittle away until they are indistinguishable from the chippings underfoot. What will be left to remember of me?
My grandmother is a beautiful gust of wind. To see her pray was an incredible sight. The breath she whispers under, the skies she screams to. She is the jolt of cold air on a day where the temperature is 98 degrees and the humidity is so high you can’t sweat.
She is the frozen Kool Aid thawing out in the window, the lizard running across the chain-link fence. She is my mother saying the phrase “bullets do not have names” and the bullet hole in our living room, hidden behind the freezer.
Somehow, she is the woman next door who was shot when she did the opposite of what you do when you hear a gun. She is the blood smattering across the cement, darkening under the sun.
Most importantly, she is her son. He built a home for her, for the man he loved too. She is the bullet with no name that still found him. She is the action of throwing yourself to the dirt, praying, screaming during the hottest night of the year.