Last night I held my head
underwater and thought
her name over and over. When I came
up for air I didn’t have anything to say.
I’m tired of eating dinner in the hospital.
I want to go back to church.
The burn victims were wheeled past & I took
smaller bites, sat up straighter.
No one else seemed to notice.
Lately I keep picturing her
in the kitchen, kneading black bread
& singing Russian folk songs
under her breath. Threats & promises
are easily made, soups & sauces less so.
Matthew Mahaney was born in one place, grew up in another, and has since lived in several more. He currently lives in Tuscaloosa, where he is an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama and eats more than his share of pulled pork sandwiches.