There was a fire in the garage where my brother tried to kill himself.
A roommate on leafy greens left a cigarette burning.
It burnt the bikes but my mom refurbished one.
It’s on the balcony.
When I called, sobbing for help,
my mom has cancer,
X told me she was sorry but didn’t see what it had to do with her.
X and I had 6yrs 9mos together.
I have the ability to get people to move across the country to love me.
Funny thing: I often cannot move out of bed to love myself.
Once she called me, right after it all, sobbing about loneliness.
Then had to go real fast.
Turns out her other guy called.
Told her to put his name and desired action on three parts of her body.
No pics in ten minutes and there’d be punishment.
She told me this when she called me back.
So much for loneliness. So much for supposedly serious shit.
Also, couldn’t be a single hair on her pussy. His orders.
My father hugs me whenever I see him but he holds too long
and I know he’s smelling for booze and smokes.
He doesn’t seem to remember when, after we got
the results and they were still sewing her up, he fell
to the hospital linoleum, on his knees, and
I hugged him as he wept.
I wasn’t smelling for anything.
She said she was sorry about that too.
But her tone was frozen like a pizza.
I saw my rapist on the bus a few days after.
I stared. He looked away and got off at the next stop.
My father told my brother to never turn out like me.
That he failed me.
Black sheep established.
I wonder if she used permanent ink to write his name on her private parts.
C Yoder enjoys clever wordplay and the use of words to create deeper meanings. Poetry should capture the human spirit both in its aesthetic essence but also in the clever, human ability to structure and see the cracks/inequalities in that structure. They’ve been published in Chapman University’s Calliope (placing 1st place for fiction in 2003), UW’s Bricolage, Navigational Tangents, and various other online publications. Other hobbies include: growing tomatoes, writing a cookbook, and travel.