The Strug­gle In­her­ent in Drown­ing

Prairie Fire - - SHANNON QUINN -

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.

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