thylias moss




Mama wants to see something else but you know how blood is, tra-la-la, Mama’s driving us to the country ’cause she thinks we need some staid time, tra-la-la, driving by the rural slaughterhouse, tra-la-la. I’m missing the concrete where I wrote: I love me some concrete; miss the teasing traffic lights: go ahead, stop; tight fit of houses, tessellated apartments, looking in Sra. Guzman’s rooms to tell time from her closer clock. We call her Goose to her face to make it crack a smile; her mouth is for urban speleology: she laughs bats. Mama, not her real name, drives along trying not to touch the steering wheel that Goose convinced her is a snake that the dual horn charms into coil. Goose doesn’t use The Club to deter car thieves, but chains on a lug wrench ’cause it looks like a cross. Plays Cristo Redentor in her 8-track. Hope we’re going to visit some snake handlers; I always thought Corn Husker’s lotion that we don’t use no more (he used it) looked like venom. Here we go, the back seat’s peanut gallery singing Fire along with the Pointer Sisters, and on every downbeat, bug blood splatters the windshield. Dear God; such aesthetic, crap being green and all, nuisance!How can she stop herself from cussing, God love her! Sometimes a whole wing

rises out of the tinted mess like a hopeless sail because it’s an ocean we navigate, not the little baptismal pool of her childhood in which she peed when the preacher submerged her; she just couldn’t wait and felt such relief that she did indeed have a redeemed countenance when she emerged. We are still on our rural way, driving past the wheat, driving past salvation, crossing myself, saying the pater noster for our mama that never makes any home-made bread, though Goose urges her ’cause Goose wants some, but no need for that when Sunbeam bread is cheaper than flour, and I am able-bodied.

She waits till there’s pouring rain, my shield from mischief, and then sends me to the store to procure a loaf or just two bits’ worth of slices from the angels who work the counters; many nights she serves sammiches, tidy stuff, the bread plate, like medieval trenchers, can be eaten, mannaise spread with the pinkie, that in our case should be called the brownie, mouth wiped with a sister’s sleeve, and a kitchen clean as starvation. A really dry old slice works well as fly swatter or, judiciously crumbed, makes dust she blows about, to prove dirt is there although we can’t find it, the dirty shame, embarrassment; we sing along, play along

until Mama figures with five girls, somebody needs to pee and she says Somebody better gets to making water or we all gon get her belt (that she does not even have, no snake-y thing going round her waist). We don’t have to go in the wheat (as I wanted) ’cause there’s a gas station and a rest room that Mama inspects with magnifying glasses, microscopes, two around her neck like some factory reject binoculars or bosom armor), Pee snakes down our legs. Mama says to me Girl, even if you’re not good, you sure are lucky, because you can open up shop and go out of his business the same day. She says this though she also says (looking down her nose as if it’s as long as an aardvark’s and she’s got some essential spectacles down at the snout’s tip) that she IS NOT IN LOVE. When we had a going out of business sale not long ago, everything of his must go, she said, looking at us, her daughters. Road,

I notice, back on that juvenile day, hasn’t run out yet. In another hour, there’ll be enough windshield accumulation to make a decahedron from those bug wings tough as vinyl. Nobody I know ever suffered any kind of snake bite. Nobody I know gets fed any kind of venom. Mama does though have a bit of snake’s tongue, it sticks out far, it latches on and it pulls us to her where we suffer those sticky kisses and get healed – I swear that’s where we get it, no saint touches us, no priest, no doctor, it’s always Mama, cause she’s the one with access to tremendous vehicles.