Mother

I stood behind him, watching
as his hands prepared to dissect
the cadaver — the corpse of our computer.
A virus or something put it out again,
turning off its lights like a fallen city.
He began to, screw by screw,
remove the casing and I could see its
colored — the yellow, blue, red, black —
cords trailing from the disk drive
to the hard drive, the hard drive
to the motherboard.
Each part was removed
from the open body
to make room for new parts.

A new RAM and processor made in
2004 was placed in a computer from 1998.
A new sound card and video card,
even though he hasn’t left the house
to work all year while mother comes home
with worn down soles late in the evening.
The motherboard — the powerhouse
of the system — stares back at me,
old and worn and tired,
from its colorful, spotted surface.
Yellow, blue, red, black.
The color of her bruises when I hear
them through the walls.
He continues to replace the old parts
with new ones as if they fix the past.

A broad Roman nose, close-set up-turned
eyes, weak teeth, sore back, cracking knees,
a fierce temper and nagging anxiety.
I’ve heard his voice in mine.
I’ve seen his spirit in mine.
I’ll never forget the way he tore us apart
like how I’ll never forget — the
Yellow, blue, red, black —
The intricate puzzle that binds us together.
A virus or something he handed down to me
and, with hands like my mother’s,
I prepare to, screw by screw,
remove my casing and fix my own
internal hard drive, from the hard drive
to the motherboard.
Make the motherboard seem less
old and worn and tired.
His virus can’t turn off the lights in us.

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