did you hear about mom?
by Demi Anter
Content warning: suicidal ideation
did you hear about the time mom danced all night in prague?
she was in love with a saxophone player and, by proxy,
all saxophone players. jazz made her feel alive and warm even as
the snow fell on cobbled roads and she and paulina left faint trails
with their boots on wet stones. there’s a video, you know the one!
mom struts through the empty street, sheds her gloves,
throws her raincoat to the floor. there are more: thirty-five millimeter
scans from the trip to lanzarote where she slept in a blood-red yurt,
feeling the color would soothe her yearning heart – and hiked across
black rocks while waves crashed, her mustard dress flapping wild,
white adidas caked in ash. the route brought her to a lava cave,
lavish and romantic where she ate alone, and listened to, you guessed it –
saxophone. there are photos from home, velvet coat and orange scarf
draped just so, clearly hungover in last night’s patent-leather shoes.
full of style, the year she worked for the fast-fashion conglomerate,
and nearly stayed on just to stock her wardrobe. the year she almost
killed herself, ideating, calculating force: (f) = m x a, where m is mass
and a, acceleration – of trams and trains and small, german automobiles.
she was glad she hadn’t killed herself, the night she met the guy
who looked like david bowie, with decent coke and a perfect body
and a grin, she swears to god, could make the sahara desert wet.
there aren’t pictures of that, but there’s a film from mom’s first trip to italy.
she’s on the back of aunt lisa’s vespa, hair flying and helmet shiny-pink.
mom was glad, then, she hadn’t jumped in front of the train in milan.
mom was glad a lot, even in her laurie anderson post lou reed melancholy,
her splintered phone screen days, her delayed flights and summer lakeside
break up despair, truth searching, lobster-red sunburn, blame it on the
mushrooms days. mom was glad at schloss schönbrunn, to have no one else
to care for, to stroll the grounds at her leisure, to wear a red beret. and in venice,
to celebrate her own birth without witness, to celebrate by crying in cathedrals
and smiling at the boats. mom trusted strangers and floated through
house parties and often chose to walk the last blocks home, to talk to herself,
to commit to memory. mom did a lot of things you wouldn’t believe,
thought a lot of thoughts she wouldn’t dare repeat. but she did write it all down.