August 11, 2018
I dreamt of your face in the shape of a bottle, Dad. But I wake up to blood in my mouth. When I try to forget each road-swerve/slurred word/childhood spent in rear-view. On late night drives, I find myself looking backward. The road never seems straight. But I want to forgive words screamed up the stairs. How you almost died driving drunk with us in the back-seat. Now, I can’t call you alcoholic or call after five. Because I still want to believe that’s static over the receiver. So, I let my voicemail-box pick up to become a median-built in. Leave reality in rift. Fall asleep to the dial tone again.
Nana, after Grandpa died, you began to skip scenes. Christmas Eve marks the first time you forgot me. Severed the bloodline between our heartbeats. While I hold your hand and wait for the word granddaughter to slip off the tongue. Find yours tired trying to remember. Tonight, I pray to an unknown God, I hope you go to the grave knowing Grandpa’s name. Let me pull the past from your worn skin. Please, forgive how I unstitch my holiday smile. Soon, I'll find yours cracked into the shape of a hospital bed. Forgive how unholy I find your God. Turned you into shadowbox of memories lost. I should want to call you and feel grateful you're alive. God, I am ungrateful. As I become a frozen smile, picture framed ghost beside your bed.
Shaina Clingempeel graduated from College of Charleston, with a major in English/Creative Writing and a minor in Psychology. She currently works as a merchandise supervisor at Barnes and Noble and is pursuing a MFA in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. Shaina enjoys experimental poetry, feminism, existential philosophy, science fiction, and thought-provoking books and films.
She has been published in Free State Review, Crab Fat Magazine, Black Fox Magazine, Poetry Quarterly, City Quill, and others.