Discrepancies Regarding My Mother's Departure

Another time after she left
I saw a headless woman
hurrying after her like a jaguar.

She pried off her red mouth
like a scar. My father folded the window
so that it fit inside his silence,

pulled apart starlight
with his teeth. Then he ate the fruit
of his own wreckage

until he was full, discontented
where he slept beneath a bridge.
The bones beneath

that bridge disappeared
around him, annunciated
by neglect.

My mother often told me
about her dreams
where amnesia chased her,

where I could see the handle of the shovel
for myself. I could see
where she had buried us or him, how

she had dug up the bones,
twisting blood & metal, as she struggled
with the flesh of memory.

Waiting inside of the night,
I could make out the mound
& her eyes, the blank embrace

of innocence when she returned.
It’s your turn, it’s always your turn,
the night says.

More by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Verguenza

Woman, I wish I didn't know your name.  
What could you be? Silence in my house 
& the front yard where the dogwood 
wouldn't make up its mind about flowers. 
Aren't you Nature? A stem cringing, half-
shadowed beneath a torque of rain. 
I too am leaving. I too am half-spun. 
The other day near the river
I bent down & Narcissus 
turned his immaculate mouth
away, refusing to caress
my howls. Silence in the trees
all around the shotgun house & that scent
of cedar whenever I dream.
I turn the light around on the ground, 
sweeping the red mud, holding 
the light like a rattler. Like a hood of 
poison, fitted over my face. Cobra 
woman, slicked with copperhead flutes. 
I too am fleeing. My face born
in a caul of music. Bravado.
The men come into the yard 
& pull all my clothes off, 
walk me into the house, 
into my own kitchen. 
Tell me not to say
say I'm wrong.