Essays    Reportage    Marginalia    Interviews    Poetry    Fiction    Videos    Everything   

I touch my tongue to bitter starlight

Poetry | Poetry Tuesday, poetry
August 16, 2022

My mother ladles silver into shallow bowls, stirs
until each memory-strand gleams like thickened silk.

She lifts a vessel to my lips, says drink. Obedient, I touch
my tongue to bitter starlight, sip the quinine swell of her anger

until it swallows me into its folds. She wants me to remember
her girlhood sky’s red gash, its secondhand magic, how the trees

sang softly on the road as she sharpened the iron of her spine.
How could she then afford to believe in monsters?

The road spilled away before her clear as sunlight, and the dead
had long stopped calling from behind. It does no good

to carry ghosts, she says, but how can I tell her the weight
of my nights, how it comes to me, silent, and waits,
the one blue eye still open in surprise?