Saturday, October 21, 2017

Armene Iknadossian: Kid Napping

I have 30 minutes before the children awake,
wrinkled thumbs soaked,
eyes small with sleep. I sit
under one of California’s oldest oak trees
with the video monitors next to me.
I lift a cigarette to my lips and digress
to the smell of my mother’s hair as she lifts
me, wet with tears and urine, tangled
in soaked sheets and blankets.
Not even two, I was left
asleep. My parents walked over
to Avo’s for a round of cribbage.
20 minutes now, and the children rustle.
I hustle another cigarette out of my purse
and listen to the rescue copters circling
Millard Canyon where hikers go missing every week.
Millard, where the native Hahamog’na lived
before Portola made his messy bed there.
10 minutes, and the crow circles the nests
where my friend the Blue Jay just fed her newborns.
It is May, that mother of all months,
when the Arroyo dries up, children skip classes
and everyone leaves their windows open
for the cool breeze to steal in from the coast.
They are cooing now, but I was screaming alone
that night before they came for me, rushing in together,
eyes big with worry, huddled over me like conspirators
as they unwrapped me gently with their sorry hands.

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