“Divorce” by Richard Krawiec

I thought I was leading forward
when I clasped my two sons
by their hands, walked inside a shower
that soon ramped into a beating
gale; slanting walls of water sliced
down, wind tore and flapped
our clothing, the sky turned
to seamed coal, the road beneath
squelched, a formless bog, loose
leg-sucking, like the shit-stench
muck of clam flats just before
the tide runs out.

I tried to pull them safely
through the eye-stinging wind,
cold needles stabbing our hands
to stiff, slippery things we couldn’t
clench. the storm slashed us apart,
slapped their cried names back
inside my mouth. I flailed a circle,
arms extended, hands grasping
only icy, drenching rain; slogging
ahead I tripped over a low ridge
onto soggy moss and let myself slip
into numb sleep until the downpour
slid to drizzle.

downslope my sons
struggled to escape briar hedges
where they’d fallen. I yelled, wait,
I’ll help you out, but the undergrowth
clung to my legs with dogclench teeth.
I could only watch them crawl away,
clothes shredded, faces war-painted
with blood, eyes narrowed from sorrow
to hatred for the journey I’d made
them begin

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