My Mother’s Words

My Mother’s Words

This starts like a worn out fire, the three maidens
long dancing now fast asleep, the red dogs 
a-hooning tuckered in the dark, sunk into coals
snoring. Beginning, as foam from the crushed
wave, old bleeds with dried up blood like flaky 
cedar chips; it coos quiet, it’s downed, 
        the felled tree.
This starts in the rot; this starts in the clippings
of newspapers and milk chunky; this starts 
in the sag of the thread, in the lily-livered daddy
with the blackened legs; it ignites with the doe
shot dead, gathered and shucked and steaming
on the ceramic buttered; this starts with a daughter 
who blew, still blows in her hat, on hills, in jars, 
in backpacks left by doorways,
	in narwhal heads,
	in blue eggs,
	on windows,
	on train tracks. 

The opening line:	Because the snow 
is an onion with chambers to circumambulate. 
The opening line:	Because you refuse 
to play well with others and your chest is a halved pew.
The opening line:	Because mountains
are nippled breasts and spires cocks straight.
The opening line:	Because you wept 
in the twilit backyard, you had ripped your sage gown. 

Because, because. Those were my mother's words. Because.
She came in tangled bushes and tar. She arrived in a green Ford, 
with a white wand in her clawed hand, went up to the fierce lake
to say goodbye. She never did. 

Never once begged forgiveness, never once knelt. 
What did the gods think would happen, as she fished
her sister’s corpse out the bathtub, planted her ghost 
in her prepared womb, birthed a girl with unruly hair 
and darksome boat eyes, her plaited vagus nerve
a thrumming fiddle string, those Irish contours, 
fingernails full of insect skeletons and seeds. 

Mama in her garden. Mama 
with her apparitions.  

“My Mother’s Words” was first published in isacoustic* on October 2018. This is its first time appearing on this blog or anywhere else.

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