Two lives are missing from the tree
Two hanging participles, unfinished phrases
Two Dark Ages, voids in my family history
In a college cafe, I sit across a speckled plastic table
From a girl who wants to be my friend, great blonde hair
Like a cloud had settled upon her head
Desperation races through my veins, my hands
Kept beneath the table to hide white knuckles
I want to be a friend, too, but I fade out
Of focus. That’s all I can remember.
Four years are missing from my head
Four indefinite chapters in my biography
The plastic porch chair is sticky hot
Against what skin has been exposed
To a sun growing hazy and dim in my sight
North Carolina heat speeds the drowsiness, speeds
The tires on their way, rushing to meet me
And unfurl a white bed and waiting hands
That finish my parent’s sentences
I’ve been waiting for that conclusion.
One history rolls through my veins
Three names have been scrubbed by an eraser
One name remained.
— Leighanne Ellis