by krstaten

My mother collects state-shaped
magnets from every state
she’s ever visited.
Her refrigerator is two thirds of a US map
bought from dozens of gas stations,
all in different colors.

I collect my words
like she collects places,
vocabulary found buried under landmarks.
They’ve fallen off the fridge,
become tripping hazards on my kitchen floor.
I’ve mistaken them for food
and choked and choked
and still, somehow,
I pile up more.

I’ve made my furniture out of them
like my mother’s made her maps,
sleeping on a bed of unwritten
good for nothing else.