Monday, September 2, 2013
Sharon McCartney's "Deadlift"
Lift that dead weight, my sister’s suffering,
the abominable pain of a teenager’s cancer,
how she longed to die, lobbing obsolete toys
at the obsidian-flowered bedroom walls, her
knobby fists on the chic white shag, and me,
ten years her junior, five or six, witnessing
the recurrent melees, squad cars in the driveway,
sedative syringes, a night ambulance strobing
the red windows. Our stone-faced mother
so calm under her beehive. An obligatory facade.
Lift my father sobbing beside the green Chevy,
not so much raising the plates as pushing the
floor away, slowly, patiently, shoulders slung
back, chest up. The pity, my mother’s burden,
a grief so poisonous it had to remain hidden.
How hard it is even now to forgive my sister.
Once called the “health lift,” hitting the glutes,
hamstrings, quads and core. Lock out tight
and straight at the top, loopy-eyed, vertiginous,
every cell in your body about to pop and
then drop the bar, a cold cadaver clattering.
From Hard Ass (Palimpsest Press 2013)