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
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.
Copyright © 2015 by Rachel Eliza Griffiths. Originally published in Guernica. Used with permission of the author.
Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a poet, visual artist, and novelist. Her hybrid collection of poetry and photography, Seeing the Body (W.W. Norton), was published in 2020.
Other poetry collections by Griffiths include Lighting the Shadow (Four Way Books, 2015), The Requited Distance (Sheep Meadow Press, 2011), Mule & Pear (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2011), and Miracle Arrhythmia (Willow Books, 2010).
Also a visual artist, Griffiths is the creator of Poets on Poetry (P.O.P), an intimate series of interviews, which gathers more than fifty contemporary poets together in conversation to discuss poetry in relation to individual human experience and culture.
Griffiths is a recipient of fellowships including Cave Canem, Kimbilio, Millay Colony, Vermont Studio Center, Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and Yaddo. Her forthcoming debut novel, Promise, will be published by Random House. Griffiths was the guest editor for Poem-a-Day in February 2021, and she lives in New York City.
Seeing the Body (W. W. Norton, 2020)
Lighting the Shadow (Four Way Books, 2015)
Mule & Pear (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2011)
The Requited Distance (The Sheep Meadow Press, 2011)
Miracle Arrhythmia (Willow Books, 2010)
Date Published: 2016-04-08
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/discrepancies-regarding-my-mothers-departure