Poem – Sylvia’s Son (By Layla Lenhardt)

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Sylvia’s Son

I was wrapped in a towel like a bad dream,

wet feet on linoleum. I was too preoccupied to see

the cracked blood, to hear the silence until I was knee-

deep in your tomb.

Sometimes, I dreamt you were a baby being born,

waking to a pain that was not yours, a motherhood

I never had. It was always the same, the air was metallic

when I woke up. You were there, sleeping slack-jawed like a

skeleton on my makeshift mattress, for what I’d later learn

would be the last time.

I was blinded by rays so bright, bourbon eyes, laced fingers,

I didn’t know there was something insidious living in your ribcage,

quietly sifting through the cracks, waiting for spring so it could spring.

I  still wake up screaming,

“please crawl into my mouth, you can make a home in there!”

I saved your beard shavings in a porcelain egg,  I no longer call my

mother. The tin can on the other end of the string is silent and rusted. I put crystals

everywhere to try to see your fleeting reflection,

to know that I’m capable of remembering more

than the smoothness of your blood on my hands.


Author Bio: Layla Lenhardt

Layla Lenhardt is Editor in Chief of 1932 Quarterly. She has been most recently published in Poetry Quarterly, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Opiate, The Charleston Anvil, and Scars. Her forthcoming Poetry Book, These Ghosts are Mine is due for publication this fall. She currently resides in Indianapolis.