The Coroner’s Office in Jefferson County, Alabama,
is Holding the DNA
His hands are crossed immobile from glue keeping him
stiff, not something alive, or lively, or grown
with blue trim full of life. No, that isn’t right,
his arms are at his side. His shoulder ribbons
the name Stacy, the tattoo, the braille, the jealousy
I’ll never get off my fingers, the way the letters
raised like hill from road where I picked him
flowers once purple and sunset. I pin my tongue,
my crying mouth-stone, not to cut at the cake
of his throat—a death language covered in terrible
nakedness. Don’t you see—? I have turned air,
the moon’s irrational reading of grief or wanting.
The first time he met our son was in a Walgreen’s
parking lot when June smelled of hot pavement
& children baptized in river water, lake water, salt & our son
five weeks old had no father on his birth certificate.
He smuggled my love, never knew what to do with it.
He’s war & pastoral, a swab of cheek, once cupping
his son like water in his hands.
Stephanie Bryant Anderson earned her B.S. in English and Psychology from Austin Peay State University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Passages North, Birmingham Poetry Review, Mid-American Review and others. Her chapbook Monozygotic | Codependent (2015) is available from The Blue Hour Press. Currently Stephanie is completing an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling.