Aubade for mothers in America
in the aftermath, a boy plays with a toy gun.
a mother houses and feeds the stray
black dogs that come running. large hands that fed
are closed around the neck of a water bottle and spill
its contents on a burning plaza. tapes are wrung
out and hung to dry.
boy unbuckles his holster like a belt tied too tight.
the walls are whiter than the air we breathe.
dark meat against china plate. a flower
soaks itself in its own blood. a mother
houses and feeds the stray black dogs that come running
from the steel plants, weaving through black metal.
a sister kisses boys with the back of her teeth, long hair
bursting through the back of her braid.
in a hotel room somewhere a daughter says a word
like fruit ripped off a tree. somewhere, a mother
relinquishes god and lights candles at her grave.
the coffee cup snaps against the ground like hands
clapping. the black dogs are running. the sky is white.
the passengers brace themselves in the planes.
a boy unbuckles his belt like it is too tight
against his skin. the crunch of knuckles.
the ice cracked a long time ago. the spoon hit against skin
made a loud thump. the rabbit bitten piece by piece by wolf,
a mouth filled with blood. somewhere, a mother cups
her hand around her son’s, gently calls his name when he
wakes up. He sees the city burning, red city. The dogs
search for food in the bones.
By Nicole Seah
Nicole Seah is a student residing in Singapore. Her work has been featured in JUNOESQ, Glass Kite Anthology and Eunoia Review amongst others. She is a senior managing editor for a youth magazine, Parallel Ink, and participated in the Adroit summer mentorship program 2016. She won national commended young poet for the National Singapore Poetry Competition with her poem “Stage Fright.”