The Night I Realized I’d Long Ago Lost My Son

by Nancy Flynn


hemoglobin red              most lurid hue

that scar

come by           one night in the 90s      riding your no-light bike

smashed              a month until 20              Monday night football

(Jello shots?)          how does it happen?       what

makes a boy fly               into a car?

windshield crystals                slicing through lip

not a look            you desire            in a family photo

to this day                 turning             angles that restore

your face               leading man         (empirical)

low-pitch rumble           your voice                ramped-up

toward jarred            gangland sweet             that summer

every hoop court         tar-taped             nothing

patched, only play      never the payday         always

hazard hazard hazard

postures            potholes             pop/guns

how near           a face can get               and yet

the maximum                  son in the flesh

(after he’s tanned it forever)

why didn’t it peel?         because mothers

cling like lichen              swab the rash

tweeze the miniscule grit

eviscerating            the high-beam glare

inside     then sinking                    no, sunk

my sorry        love-shot stone

your boyish lostness

what did you feel          behind your matte mask

tethering to gauze      who’s dissing you        ugly?

she tries to recall the ranting

in the emergency room

from his drunken        mangled mouth

instead that echo

the man in the car        who cried

Did I kill him?