A.R. Robins

LI 252: Daily Response 3

When I read this, I try to put some pieces of the scene together in my mind. How did the fire start? How did she struggle? How long did it take? they think they told me the answers i need

My mother sleeps below me, in the room downstairs. She sleeps because she lost her person. what’s left when we are alone? While I type this, I can hear her hopeless shuffling in the covers. i can hear her, professor.  I can hear the thunder roll of my brother’s throat in the next room. I ignore them. I ignore them as I read for your class. I ignore them as I write.

There are facts I know, before the fire, how my mother sleeps in the living room with the dog, how my brother smokes by the window, how the sink fills with dishes and then sour water, how the magazines stack themselves in the corners of the rooms and under the beds and on the tables. There are facts about the day.  I believe they believe they are facts i know what i know about memory and trauma. There are facts in her death certificate, which I don’t believe because I’ve never known an authority to make a clear picture of my mother’s life, my mother’s house, my mother’s kind of love. There are facts about fires, how they lick the arms and legs, how they swallow like mouths and digest like bellies, how they love oxygen. It’s all there, rubbing into my forehead and cheeks, making my face sore.

I move pieces, take what I know and fill in space with something I can believe.

I want to make it so that she didn’t suffer, but I can’t. what does nothing feel like, professor?

There must have been suffering. is it like drowning like being buried like falling? There must have been suffering. then nothing

i read for you, i write for you I read about a man who punches his woman’s teeth because he wants all her holes to look the same, and I think about her because that’s her kind of joke. I think we all thought it was a joke.


A.R. Robins received her M.A. at Southeast Missouri State University. Her fiction and poetry has been published in Moon City Review, Opossum, The Big Muddy, Crack the Spine, The Swamp, The Cape Rock, Atlas and Alice, and others.