His eyes refused to water. His heart dead
at the roots, stubborn like his father, cold
& gone now. The men in his family head
households of slow-brewed women: coffee bold
black like the cup he orders with no room
for cream or sugar to cloud bittersweet
memories of a mother masking gloom,
who saw the mug half-empty, incomplete
lying next to a husband dodging touch
while watching Monday night football, losing
sight of all the fumbles slipped through his clutch.
But Val was not his mother—torn choosing
her man’s sole happiness over her own.
Val was a woman of raw skin, teeth, bone.
(photo by John Gentry, Jr.)
Allyson Horton is a native of Indianapolis, and a graduate of IUPUI. Currently working on her MFA in poetry at Butler University, she has performed her work both locally and throughout the Midwest.
Indiana Humanities is posting a poem a day from Indiana poets in celebration of National Poetry Month.