Brutal and tender, Adamshick’s spare poems recount a son’s unsentimental and powerful love for his mother, while contemplating, in the wake of her death, what it is to be truly alive.
An excerpt from “ARMISTICE” in Birches
…My mother’s bed was in the center
of the living room. Her morphine,
a viscous blue liquid I dropped
on her tongue. In the evenings,
Billie Holiday eased herself
out of the speakers and then sat
her voice down quietly
in the lamplight. I wanted
the nurses, regardless
of gender or age, to hold me
in the dark, to lie with me
on a bed of forgetfulness.
Many of them said:
It’s okay. She did it for you,
now you can return the favor.
It’s the same. But one nurse said:
It is not the same.