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.
Not hers but mine. Not hers ever again. Ever
hers, my body pulled through, two
long windows open in the dark of birth,
the gold cord raised too in its wake. Awake,
the first morning. The first morning & all,
all the windows were closed inside. A blindness
scalding broken sight. The silence pulled through
my nostrils & veins, the ether of air failing
flesh. I get up from the shape I once was
& open the white blinds in my brother's house.
The light is specific. It is the 29th morning
of July. Last night they dragged me howling from her
body in the room. The room had a name,
number 3315, in the cardiac wing. In the room
I saw her winged shape leave, rise, forgive the
vessel that fled her. Now mine or ours, I
stare in the mirror while everyone sleeps
the aggrieved sleep of the living. Behind my eyes
a dead woman looks back at me with no trace
of recognition. I say 'Mother' & my own
feral mouth opens. Closes without any light.