Mother and None

Broken Children

After her death, my brother and I broke,

becoming shards of bone and glass.

I mailed him my sharpest piece and he buried
it in the soft dirt of a quiet forest.

On the longest day of the year, I filled buckets
with sunlight and washed away the shadows
from my bandages. My brother left his teeth
on my windowsill and was gone before I looked
in the cracks between his bones and tape.

I gave a pigeon a letter for him:
I found the priest with the necklace
of tears. He gave me an urn of ashes
while I whispered to our mother. I forgive you.

Back To Earth

My mother taught me to read
the lines of time and I had thought
I would teach my daughter.

I see my future in the bones
as they burn in the fire. One cracks
into a multitude of pieces.

I will die in a field far from my brother-
in-law who promised his life in protection
of me - our tribe's shaman.

He sits across the fire from me,
his hands shake, his hair is gray,
and his son's face is turned away.

My life song can unstring locked
chains and harps, but it is no iron-
wood door, no sandstone labyrinth,

and it can't dissolve an intent to kill.

I decide to weave a harmony of notes
into a light blue cloak during a hundred
blossom sunsets. This will be my funeral shroud.

In the spinning years after my blood stains
the soil flowers will sprout toward not the sun,
but the dark surfaces of the moon.

Bees will buzz over my bones.
And anyone who stands above will hear
half a tune and an echo of a gunshot.

I fall backwards and animal skins cushion
me as the dirt will embrace my body.
I close my eyes, sing, and complete the song.

No Mother

under a blanket
a girl imagines
comfort in socks
but not chocolate
kisses and wants
a mother to gaze
at her with eyes
whispering honey
and sugar.

Her father cools
her fever-hot
cheeks with wet
cloths and holds
her right hand.

On my plate are the ribs
of a baby animal. My mother
slathered them in sludgy
barbeque sauce.

I slice white chunky
fat from the meat and feel
the silence of the endless
cavern within my chest.

I cut the rest of the meat
from the bones and into
squares, then capture
a piece with my fork.

My teeth are dull. I grind
them at night while I dream
of my mother breaking the necks
of an ark full of animals.

My teeth work the stringy
meat from cheek to cheek
until I swallow and set
my cutlery on my plate.

I breathe, rub my hand along
my side, close my eyes, and feel
for ribs under flesh. I imagine
myself on the cutting board.

My mother opens me up, pulls
slender curves of bones from me
until the counter leaks red, and slides
a finger in her mouth for a taste.

I open my eyes, scrape the dead
animal onto the floor, and watch
the dogs as they snap the bones
and wet the floor with their saliva.