Rachel McKibbens, Kin

In January when nothing
could thaw

my son confessed
he wished me dead.

Then, piled in the center of
the attic floor

a most cruel jackpot: every gift
I’d ever given him,

a diary of fang & venom. The
trees, crippled by ice,

stood watch as my son moved
slowly down
the street like a hearse.
Then, gone.

All winter, I wanted to write a
poem that did not

involve the word ruin. My
body. This house.

The child who refused to take
hold. Such desperate,

complicated thefts. Pry my
mouth open

find the stench of a
final prayer:

Dear Gods of Flesh
& Instinct, forgive

my boy’s inherited crimes—
the voices that spin

his brain into a wooden
horse. Grant him

a warm home, far away
from this body.

My blood has never been,
& will never be kind.