The Struggle Inherent in Drowning
Leaves maintained their integrity
pressed in a book on a bedside table.
I was nine.
No one died that day
but I thought I might.
All the other animals had gone to bed.
In my dream I was trotting
ears down, eyes forward
limp body grasped in my jaw.
Mary, Mother of God, behind me.
Arya Tara, Mother of Sorrows, in front.
I was a good girl, wasn’t I?
This is for myself or maybe
every girl who wrestled
with the bedroom door
before we had to decide between
Sunday skirts with baskets of flowers
& short shorts with dimpled thighs.
Before we knew our mothers were drowning
in a sea of feather and bone.
Farm next door had a newborn
calf in winter and a charcoal-grey
wolf pup who would be white by next snow.
Three pigeons were pinned by razor
wire to a fence, snowshoe rabbit footprints
underneath. While our mothers, all our mothers
were busy in the fields text messaging us prayers
with the lifespan of a lily under the hoof of a horse.
I brought a pigeon home once,
drunk (me, not the pigeon) after I ran away
from a boy in a bar who liked to bruise.
This is not new or for hurting, only to notice
that our mothers, all of our mothers, are trapped,
right now, in tiny apartments
banging on the bedroom door.