“Aerosol Hairspray” by A. R. Rogers

I am from cotton fields, sticky pricked
fingers. I am again and again from my mother’s face,
whose face I wear as my own, stretched
taught and young over a wider jaw,
meant to clamp on, sink in,
tear away in one wild jerk.

I am from men with things to hide,
who leave in favor of whiskey and other women,
bathroom-backroom-backhouse drugs,
pills passed ‘round, bartered.
This is what families do;
these are what Christians look like.

I am from two fathers—
both phantoms now—
from their duel dissonance. I am reaching
for someone large enough to spread
out over two voids, fill me up twice over.

I am from canned goods and boxed
dinners, dry protein, things in cellophane,
under pop-tops, from midnight snacks,
hunched over the toilet by half past.

I endeavor to be from my mother’s urging:
If you can’t be good, be sanitary,
her careful instruction in the art of applying
lipstick, her aerosol hairspray, and the sticky
residue it left on everything.

* * *

A. R. Rogers is a poet living in Austin, TX.She is also a typewriting busker, writing poems for tips in the heart of the city. She enjoys whiskey and wasting time. Her work can be found in Peach Fuzz and Sir/Ma’am.

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