Once, my mother cradled my head to her chest
& told me how she spread loose change
on the tracks that cut so close beside her house,
the good dishes shook when trains bellowed in.
She’d crush her belly to the yellow throats
of onion grass & tuck her chin as weight
& wheels smeared her pennies palm-flat.
I think even then she knew
how absence freights the memory:
her father’s chair empty at dinner,
his stethoscope always poised
over someone else’s heart.
In the memory I make for her, she leaps
from rail to rail, pockets clattering
with beaten copper. He waits for her
in the kitchen, hands open
to collect her bounty of ruin.
Emily Rose Cole is a writer and lyricist from Pennsylvania. She holds an MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and is currently a PhD candidate the University of Cincinnati. She has received awards from Jabberwock Review, Ruminate Magazine, Philadelphia Stories, and the Academy of American Poets. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Nimrod, Spoon River Poetry Review, Yemassee, and Passages North, among others.