lip reading the battle of the somme (1918)                                                —Kate LaDew

a hundred years ago boys still knew to wave at a camera and shout hi mom
not knowing quite what a camera was, or all its moving parts
but knowing, somehow, the motion of a hand
the curve of a lip
silently mouthing what became her name the day they were born
would startle the heart back into beating
there he is
the one I loved

tracing the veins wrapping around

the little hollows of your wrist
I find tendons sharp and white
leading into everything inside you

at the fold of your arm
I count two pulses
they taught me never to measure with my thumbs
the beating of your own heart will trick you

(I don’t believe in God
but every now and then
something makes me stop and wonder)

I glide my fingers up to your neck,
just under the jaw
and feel a symphony

after the movie the mother and the little girl

walk out of the theater,
left down the hallway
right towards the lobby
right into the restroom
left opening the door of the first stall
(the least used and most clean according to science).
the mother slides the lock as the little girl waits on the other side
let me see those shoes, the mother says, careful not to say feet  
or the little girl might (will) begin removing the left shoe
then the right shoe the left sock then the right sock
let me see those shoes and the little girl places both feet under the stall,
her left arm then her right arm like wings spanning the door,
tapping the fingers on her left hand against the plastic
the mother looks at her phone, the shoes, her phone, the shoes,
hearing the tap tap tap of her only child,
having calculated in the moments before she falls asleep how long an average restroom trip will take,
how long to get herself back in order,
how long to slide open the lock if those shoes were to suddenly disappear
the mother knows it will take less time than she thinks
because she could care less (she couldn’t care less) if the whole movie theater saw her
pants down and screaming,
chasing whomever thought it best to spend part of their day
taking away the only thing she loved wholly and completely.
she watches the shoes as the rhythm of her heart falls into time with the tap tap tap on the other side of the door

Kate LaDew

Kate LaDew is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Art. She resides in Graham, North Carolina, with her cats Charlie Chaplin and Janis Joplin.

ISSN 2472-338X
© 2018