Father sucks the air from the room
by yawns. Her nerves shed
cascades of atoms, my space.
It's like this: he stretches the canvas,
she holds a brush and tells it off.
When he returns to blank
he asks me to bust up the frame.
Could be music too, staffs readied,
lined so straight and nice
not a note to play. I burn
their wedding song.
Or a bicycle missing a seat
impossible to ride in carelessness,
yet I do, Ma, and with no hands.
Joseph Helminski was born in Detroit and received his Ph.D. in English at Wayne State University. He has taught writing and literature at Wayne State, the University of Toledo, and has been a faculty member at Oakland Community College since 2006. He has published reviews in American Literature, an article on Harriet Beecher Stowe in the collection Beyond Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and short fiction in Detroit’s Metro Times. His poem “Auslander” was published in the Spring 2016 issue of the Tulane Review.