Taken from an Account – ZG Tomaszewski
I hear the click-clack worry
of the Tic-Tacs shackled in
their plastic container…
an orange flurry of candy hurries
into her hand.
We’re parked, engine idle.
It’s 1996 and we’re stationed
at an ATM. My mother, waiting
for an automated response, reaches
back into the vehicle to the center
console for a pack of safety-orange
sugar pills. She flicks the lid
and like seeds falling from a feeder
the candies rattle over the rim.
Beside her I sit
watching the bank teller behind
the glass when the machine spits
a papery green leaf and receipt
from its slot. My mother’s hair is
pinned up and she wears
a blouse with geometric patterns.
She tucks the money
into the folds of her wallet
before tossing the Tic-Tac container
back into the console where objects
accumulate: chapstick, tissues, receipts,
the same perfume she’s worn for years.
Week after week
I come with her to this bank, that ATM.
Every time a few Tic-Tacs
along with what meager amount
the machine would muster.
Most times I am quiet.
Her concentrated like a bird balanced
on a wire.
Some times it is the unknown
lady inside the building I look at. Still,
I’ve learned to study my mother:
how the wrinkles on her forehead press
together when she reads the receipt,
how she always offers me the candy
then smiles when I do.
Beyond the car
is a stand of pines.
I hear the wind calling,
see the trees shake their grief.
A robin leaves its nest, searching
ZG Tomaszewski, born in 1989 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is the author of three books of poems, All Things Dusk (International Poetry Prize winner selected by Li-Young Lee, published by Hong Kong University Press, 2015), a chapbook written while living in Ireland, Mineral Whisper (Finishing Line Press, 2017), and River Nocturne (forthcoming 2018), which has already seen praise from David James Duncan, Li-Young Lee, Laura Kasischke, and Dan Gerber. Tomaszewski currently works maintenance at a 100 year old Masonic Temple, renovates houses, and is the director of the Lamp Light Music Festival. New poems appear in Blackbird, RHINO, The Cortland Review, Barrow Street, Portland Review, diode, Poetry International, and Terrain.org, among others, and reviews of other writers works are housed with Empty Mirror, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Poetry International.