We joke about how often
your husband calls his mother
as if that umbilical cord stretched
along the sound waves
unrolled like a ring worm
it reaches into the western horizon
a summer sun that refuses to set
We wonder how no amount
of intrinsic force will snap it
the threats of abandonment
the emasculation that
pickles his balls in a jar
Stockholm hugs tell him
that he’s the only she’ll turn to
Her mantras rooted
so deep under his tender skin
he’s forgotten the taste of compassion
can’t differentiate
love from her artful abuse
he is the starved dog who
distrusts the heaping bowl
a thirst victim
eyeing water for poison
he’ll accuse you of
tarnishing her illusion
because truth is
if he’s forced to admit it
that a lifetime of playing puppet to her
couldn’t earn him
a mother’s love
he may very well break
to the point beyond healing
on the death march
only those with imagination
like he does
tethered to her
heart-shaped bayonet
and still sometimes
we wonder why no amount
of extrinsic force
can break
what the spirit’s
too weak to mend.