Backyard Study, No. 3, David Carmack Lewis
Altar with Scorched Dream, Syringe and Styrofoam Cup
This time my mother came to me floating—no sirens, or haloes, but also no holes in her arms. Then she picked me up in a long, black car, seats made of sparkle color upholstery that matched her eyes, her smile sliding over the trees outside the window. We passed bodies of water and Ferris wheels, came to a fish park where she pulled out big, flashy cards showing the price of fish, as she sucked on a cigarette. When I reached for a match, my hand ripped through paper wings of a butterfly stretched between there and here. Its shadow grew so large it blocked out the sun and spit out the moon. Who knows if this smudge on my forehead rose from a real butterfly’s kiss or grew there from the false memory of cigarette ash, and how would I ever know for sure? I only pretend to open my eyes to receive the instant Sanka my play mom shakes Cremora into. This Styrofoam cup she hands me will last longer than me, I’m told and not even the bitterest wind can find me now because I don’t know if my eyes are open or closed. If you set me on fire today, only the tip of my shadow would burn.