by Jaime Speed

I was born with aggressive toes
turning mother’s face
early morning, alarm, alarm
nothing good
happens before dawn
the venom of time
too early too late
the pull-cord
starting mother’s heart murmur
heart wrankle
but she says you have to suck
the poison out
like gasoline
pursed lips
like a bedtime kiss
late blooming
barefoot in the dirt
I thought I was a plant
watching mother’s clock
in the sky
second hands
like a hug
like mother’s prayer answered
in reverse
studying me
how my future
daughter’s hands
will travel my face
with tiny flags
her fingers halting rivers
mapping centuries
out of turn
the way time tumbles
in the buttered sun
mouthfuls of song
the bathtub water rises
left-handed sign
of the devil
of nothing good
splitting shoes
stopping time
cursed with aggressive toes

JAIME SPEED lives, works, and plays in Saskatchewan, Canada. A fan of reading, gardening, throwing weights, and dancing badly, she has recently been published in The Rat’s Ass ReviewDear Loneliness ProjectHobo Camp ReviewAnti-Heroin ChicOyeDrum Magazine, and Global Poemic, with work forthcoming in ChannelThey Call UsNew Feathers Anthology,and The Wild Word, along with collections by Ship Street PoetryGnashing Teeth PublicationsWhite Stag Publishing, and Indie Blu(e) Publishing. Her prose poetry is forthcoming in Best Small Fictions 2021 by Sonder Press.

Photo: “Bleeding Hearts” by DomiKetu