Things I Couldn't Tell You

Mom, you're living in a Nursing Home
and I hate coming to visit you.
Your father isn't taking you to work on his coal
and ice wagon this morning.
Dad is dead. He isn't coming to see today.
The way you slide back and forth through time
it's draining to continue playing along with you.

Lisa and I love each other. We are partners for life.
I have always been queer and never interested
in marrying a man.

Last week, your favorite brother, Christy, was beaten to death by his son.
Two planes flew into the World Trade Center.
I watched the towers burn and collapse from the roof
of my building. 3,000 dead. I was never so scared in my life.
I wish I could tell you. I wish you could hold me.
Two months later, our apartment still smells from the Towers fires.

Schizophrenic sister Patty escaped from Pilgrim State hospital again.
She is shooting heroin and has abscesses on her arm.
Cousin Joe was recently arrested for attempted to kill his mother-in-law
and is now housed in a facility for the criminally insane.
Your cousin and pen-pal, Betty Gaynor died.

I am emptying out our family home.
Three generations of Buckley and Shanley belongings.
We have mice in the house and they shit and feasted
on everything you put in the attic and the basement for safe keeping.
I am in a state of shock and horror as I throw everything out.
Except for Theresa Walsh's Melodeon.
I was able to salvage that.

Your leg was amputated because you threw a clot.
You will never return home.
Your sister died in 1955, she didn't just stop by for a visit.
You no longer live on Reservoir Avenue, around the corner
from the Nursing Home.
I can't visit you anymore.





About the Author:
Mary Shanley is a poet/writer who lives in NYC. Two of her books have been published: Hobo Code Poems by Vox Pop Press and Mott Street Stories and Las Vegas Stories by Sidestreet Press. She is published online at: Mr. Bellers's Neighborhood, Blue Lake Review, Logos Journal, Hobo Camp Review, StepAway Magazine, Anak Sastra Journal, Shangra-la Magazine.