Carry the Family Name: How to Exorcise Your Past

by Eric Elliott


- after Timothy Geigerís

The Last Thing The Dead Kid Taught Me

Move the name around your
motherís 33rd birthday, around
the one pound bag of M&Ms
your father throws at her.
Around words that
cut her and blood still
making you sick.
Carry the name out
into traffic each time it
twists your chest. Make your
pen its legs and rush it from
the dark indoors into
the dark between the lines.
Hope for more cars than are avoidable
enough steel to build with
escape with.
Come back in
dig with your pen.
Search for gold in the next line or stanza.

Give the gold to your mother and
take the candy from the floor.
Tell your father
heís dropped something
important outside
in the street. Tell him
its shining in the streetlight Ė
luminous and defined
as red and white neon
collapsing on blacktop.
Drag his wrists when
he turns for your motherís room
pull him to the door
and tell him to run
before someone steals whatís rightfully his.


Next: "Just James"