REFRAIN – Ja’net Danielo

In my mother’s mouth, refrain becomes restrain & this is not a slip

of anything. When I say I loved my father, let the d of past tense

 

slap the back of my teeth, I see the limitations of time, by which

I mean our construction of time, by which I mean body, by which

 

I mean mine. When the doctor asks about the cancer, how I

handled the news & I say I wasn’t surprised, I mean Tumor,

 

I’ve been waiting for you my whole life. When my mother says restrain,

she means refrain & somehow, they are the same—this fast-

 

binding, drawing together of threads over & over. And I know

now we are never going back to anything—not even if we found

 

a way to travel faster than the speed of light, like in 2001: A Space

Odyssey, which, according to my college physics professor, would

 

catapult us into past. Not even then. The light would be different,

bent. So, months after my father’s death, when I tell my husband

 

I feel the devastation of fans when the Beatles broke up & how

the pain of no more hollows my gut, knives the bone of my chest,

 

what I mean is I’m never going to see my father again, by which I mean

I am never going to           again.

Ja'net Danielo

Ja’net Danielo is the author of The Song of Our Disappearing (Paper Nautilus, 2021). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Shore, GASHER, Mid-American Review, Radar Poetry, Frontier Poetry, and elsewhere. Originally from Queens, NY, Ja’net teaches lives in Long Beach, CA. You can find her at www.jdanielo.com.

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