Explain this: how the crook of your legs
was made for me. How I fit, curled.
& one day didn’t.
How I’ve outgrown you.
Explain this: some years you came home
smelling the way all new mothers smell,
& that smell is all I remember
of those years.
How before, we were alone.
& one day, we were less alone
& I had sisters
who will never remember
being alone with you.
Here are some things that are the same as saying I love you or I’m sorry,
phrases which in our house are the same.
a colander of snap peas shared
three red potatoes slid from your plate to mine, though you are still hungry
your hands working their way through your hair,
The Field at Midnight
my thumb & forefinger
grasping at the fat-bulbed bodies of fireflies
tangled in my hair.
our house is a house
of constellations, all the bright spots
a punctuation in darkness.
how far back is eternity? when do we begin?
what answers can the night sky give,
that deep blue of summer.
my mother’s hands
are the hands of the mothers before her
& I do not have my mother’s hands,
opalescent half-moons of every nail.
my mother’s hands run their fingers across
my forehead, pull me out of dreams
to the field beyond the tree line,
to watch the stars, unspeaking.
for what is there to say?
what answers can the night sky give?
False Spring on Earth
When I say earth, I mean two things.
(noun) the place we live
(verb) my mother
driving the red foxes from the garden, where they sleep,
deep underground. & in the garden,
we push our hands into the earth & the earth pushes back,
green shoots of irises, tiger lilies.
They say that for every action,
there’s an equal & opposite reaction, & it goes like this;
a word once spoken, cannot be unspoken.
You love me, & this is what I know of it. Its definition:
pluck any string of any stringed instrument,
once. Love lives in the moment left over,
a quivering in the neck long after the string is still.
Did you know the human body is a series of strings,
tied together with constrictor knots, orchestrating
itself perfectly? (but not always)
This moment is always the same,
my mother reciting Ecclesiastes at the kitchen table.
a ceremony of seasons; a time to love,
& a time to hate, to be born, to die,
& I never know which is which.
My mother’s hands run their fingers over the moon,
as if to ask how do we recall what we’ve lost?
What if it does not come back to us?
There is a time for everything, & now,
it is time to wait for the skies to change.
The field worn down to ice beneath the path home,
& my mother is out walking the length of the river & back,
photographing the ribcage (another way to say cathedral) of a wild rabbit
rearranged by our charm of red foxes,
since returned to us by the earth.
Under every fallen tree,
an articulation of bone.
(noun) the frost-aired clarity of music
over windswept snow
or, where two bones come together
or, my words like seasons spoken aloud;
& rarely in the right order.