Souvenir – a poem by Melanie Figg

I usually cry about my mother 
in the bathtub with the door locked. 
Not a slow, pretty tear that could be 
confused for water or sweat— 
but a jagged sob, a long moan. 
I rest my forehead on the cool rim. 
Try to catch my breath but only
manage a ragged sucking of air.
My cat’s worried, claws at the door 
to sing to me, do her silly dance: distract me. 
I let her in. My body quickly returns 
to its hot, wet fold. I’m grateful 
for the headache I'll have tomorrow.
Exhaustion is the closest prayer I know.

Melanie Figg is the author of the award-winning poetry collection, Trace. She is a recent NEA Fellowship winner and her poems and essays are published widely. As a certified professional coach, she offers workshops and writing retreats and works remotely with writers on their work and their creative process.

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