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Spilled Sugar by Thylias Moss

Spilled Sugar

by Thylias Moss

I cannot forget the sugar on the table.

The hand that spilled it was not that of

my usual father, three layers of clothes

for a wind he felt from hallway to kitchen,

the brightest room though the lightbulbs

were greasy.

The sugar like bleached anthills of ground teeth.

It seemed to issue from open wounds in his palms.

Each day, more of Father granulated, the injury spread

like dye through cotton, staining all the wash,

condemning the house.

The gas jets on the stove shoot a blue spear

that passes my cheek like air. I stir

and the sugar dissolves, the coffee giving no evidence

that it has been sweetened and I will not taste it

to find out, my father raised to my lips, the toast burnt,

the breakfast ruined.

Neither he nor I will move from the shrine

of Mother’s photo. We begin to understand

the limits of love’s power. And as we do,

we have to redefine God; he is not love at all.

He is longing.

He is what he became those three days

that one third of himself was dead.

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