Along the memory stores, the vendors
all day hawking their wares.
Among the wreaths, necklaces, and black
rubber-soled shoes, that day
I ran home, told no one.
When we went to Pappy’s house
how soon my nose would stop
discerning the coagulated scent
of his unbathed body, his poodle’s
piss soaked into the carpet and pad,
and his spittoon half-full
of that dark juice that settled
the deep corners of his mouth.
I heard the word repair then
as if something tangible were broken,
only my father could fix. Repair,
now, is heard like a railroad track
of sutures too often split open,
the color of cold black coffee,
the color of the river at night.
Michelle Hendrixson-Miller is an MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte, where she served as poetry editor of Qu. Her poems have appeared in Poem, Poems & Plays, Josephine Quarterly, Main Street Rag, The Lake, and One.