Aleathia Drehmer



Liminal Definition of Love

Growing up, love was a screaming,
knock out, vindictive fight; a flurry of arms.

In the dark, my young heart
always stood stock still, listening
for the sound of bones breaking,
then silence.

When it was my turn to love, I went mute
to keep from fighting, never standing up
for myself or letting the others take any blame.

I lived a lie
rather than remember
a child’s
version of together.


Stone Fences

We weren’t in the truck more than five minutes
before he revealed his mother’s cancer to me
and spoke about the possibility of following
in her footsteps. He was firm about her not having
chemo at age 82, but pleaded with his eyes to ask
if his position on the matter was the right one.
He told me he’d be ready if the doc told him
his time had come. Yes, he’d be ready now.

I made him stop for coffee and I snuck in the bathroom
to call you, crying on your invisible shoulder
about impending deaths. I had longed for my father’s
candor and now, I couldn’t run fast enough
from its blackened face. You calmed me enough
to allow me to strengthen the mortar in my emotional
stone fence back to its usual haphazard state.

The door creaked when I opened it and S-hooks
jangled under my sandals, breaking our silence,
reminding us we were here—together—at this moment.
We reconnected to my youth with tales of the present,
avoiding the tender spots of our failed relationship,
that we had planned to broach. Those things moot
in cancer’s claw and death’s smiling face.

In the end, I felt guilty that I wasn’t more assertive,
that there were years spent avoiding each other
over pride and unchecked disappointment.
They were years that would never return.
I tucked my book under the dirty armrest
as I hugged you goodbye, the poems wedged
inside now seemed much less important than the day before.



Hurricanes of Snow

I stand outside the door of the funeral home
watching the winds carry loose snow
across the back lot like an icy hurricane
that no one takes notice of as it twists
and cuts into the beginning of winter,
into my daughter’s eighth birthday.

When I look closer, through my frozen,
stalled breath, I realize that as a child
I would cut through this lot
from my grandmother’s house.

In summer, I’d run through the maze
of underbrush, stop to pick blackberries
and tiger lilies, hope beyond hope
I didn’t misstep and end up in the swamp
full of skunk cabbage and green slime.
I carefully triangulated the stones
I’d use to cross the crick if it were low enough.

It was always cooler here
next to the high concrete wall
and I could smell the donuts frying
next to the funeral home and never thought
it was a scary place because of that.

But now it’s different after seeing her lie
in an open casket for two hours,
waiting for her to say my name
and slap my arm and laugh.

This place is cold and circular and filled
with darkened hearts and though I’ll never
cross that crick again, it somehow
changes the thrill of that adventure.

One Response to “Aleathia Drehmer”

  1. […] have three poems featured on Rusty Truck (Liminial Definition of Love, Stone Fences, and Hurricanes of Snow) which appear in my upcoming […]

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