When my therapist tells me my father’s trauma has been transferred to me, I think

how long he has been missing
     from the planet, still part of the seawater
          his ashes move through the Pacific
and as she talks, I think of how the sky
     never lets me down—looking up,
          there is always a cloud I could study,
a new shade of blue and how lucky I am
     to see the moon rise like a bullseye
          over the Cascades; someone has shot
a hole through the entire universe,
     and I wonder how she got the gun,
          how we arrive at places we want
to leave from. As she tells me the reason
     I wake up screaming is because no one
          ever dealt with that pain so now I wear it
like a silver blanket and each night I wrap myself
     in suffering instead of sheets—what I carry,
          what I will pass on—and when she says
there are ways to get through this I think about
     how much I like the roasted corn salsa
          I make, how the shallots and cilantro
give it just enough bite and the lime juice
     reminds me how once when I was in Mexico,
          I did a body shot off a woman I didn’t know
and how sticky she was and how the tequila
     made the night a little quieter and the stars
          made the beach feel like a church, a festival,
and how when I stumbled across the sand
     I learned to love the sand, even when I couldn’t
          move from it, even when its coldness wrapped
around my skin, even when I almost fell asleep.





agodonphotoKelli Russell Agodon’s most recent book, Hourglass Museum, was a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards and shortlisted for the Julie Suk Prize in Poetry. Her other books include The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice (coauthored with Martha Silano), Fire On Her Tongue: An Anthology of Contemporary Women’s Poetry (co-edited with Annette Spaulding-Convy), and Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, winner of the Foreword Book of the Year Prize for poetry and a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards. Her work has been published in The Atlantic, Harvard Review, New England Review, and O, The Oprah Magazine.