I touch my tongue to bitter starlight
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?