Family Tree by James Butcher

Family Tree

James Butcher

i wish you wouldn’t call them fragments
when i cut them into pieces

these are her feet hanging over the sea wall
when i called her mother she called me home

this is the two of them
look at their party hats

white muslin is a cotton fabric of plain weave
fine linen muslin was called sindon

that is the tip of her glowing cigarette
when she wore her flannel shirt
and called them shitkickers
she spit in a coffee can

they are standing in front of the jailhouse
when he was sheriff bill
she still wore floral dresses

muslin: from french mousseline
from italian mussolina
from mosul iraq
from dhaka bangladesh

i don’t have a picture of the horse
so i called it macaroni
the rows were furrowed
this is the plow with tines

he drank the way i did
we both saw snakes
and demons
when the room is dark it rains
the bottle was in the crawlspace

this is her pocket book
when i asked her where her money was
she said they stole it once again

you said i had to bury them
so i shrouded them in white



©2017 James Butcher


Mr. Butcher has had recent work published in Whispering Shade, The Blotter, and the upcoming issues of Midwest Review and Prick of the Spindle.