Dorianne Laux

Dorianne Laux
Dorianne Laux's most recent collections are The Book of Men and Facts about the Moon, both from W.W. Norton. Laux is also the author of Awake, What We Carry, and Smoke from BOA Editions, as well as a fine press edition, Dark Charms from Red Dragonfly Press. Laux teaches in the M.F.A. Program at North Carolina State University.

Changeable Weather

Our mother might launch her thumb
into the air and say Get the hell
out of here or she might tell
us a parable about the quick and the dumb

pulling a splinter from a finger.
She might linger at the back door
humming the notes to a score
she was struggling to learn. Bring

me a cigarette she would shout

over her night-gowned shoulder.
The weather could change without
warning: clear morning, mountains
of cloud by noon. When you're older

she would snap, turning off the TV
or snatching a book from your hands,
then scuff across the rug, a phantom
in her blue robe and slippers. We

lost her daily, then found her devout

over a bowl of cherries, turning
to spit the seeds into our upturned
faces, us flinching in unison when she missed
and hit the wall, her red lips shaped in a kiss.

We never knew which way to run:
into her arms or away from her sharp eyes.
We loved her best when she was gone,
and when, after long absence, she arrived.