I am more than a mother

This all consuming love

Is an honor

To experience childhood  and motherhood in tandem 

Is the singular thing in life

Greater than childhood itself

And yet I am more 

I was a child once

And then a girl

And then a woman

Moving forward

Haphazardly

On only two feet

Until I became a mother, and suddenly

My identity divided 

Moving now in three different directions 

On six feet

All at once

But my daughters are not divided

Despite carrying my DNA and my voice inside them

They are wholly themselves

The way I once was and am now but for the way I am reflected

Refracted

I am more than a mother

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A space on fire

There are thoughts,

Visions,

Sensations,

That crash into me

With such precise timing that it’s as if

I sent them myself.

Like somehow, years ago,

I knew exactly where I would be standing now.

And she,

Years-ago-me,

Was determined to keep this fire burning,

To maintain enough agitation in my core,

That I would forever seek new forms of

Solace

And therefore grow.

And I do.

I receive these thoughts and visions and sensations and

Let them take up space inside me until

It burns too hot.

Whiskey

And neglect

Have fueled this wild conflagration that now demands

My attention.

I turn inwards,

Face to the flames,

And look

For whatever I’m supposed to find.

I kneel,

Bow,

Reach,

Twist,

Balance,

Focus,

Breathe,

Sweat.

I let the fire transform me

And try not to be afraid

Of change,

Of emerging somehow

Unrecognizable.

I will, of course,

Be me.

And maybe no one will know I was on fire.

Maybe my fate is to be alone with myself

And to discover peace there.

In a space unwitnessed,

Unappreciated,

Unloved,

Unknown,

By anyone, but me.

The Ballerina

Diminuendo
Her skeletal spine bows like a crescent
A single violin, thin and hollow
Bends her farther still
Tiny ivory steps across the palette of her back
Arching
And aching
A waning waxen figure enslaved by sound
Starved so that she can not exist as a
Woman
She is only music
Her heart beats fast against her translucent chest
Her hunger screams from behind emaciated ribs
Possessed by drums and strings not belonging to her fragile anatomy

Crescendo
Compelled forward in measured movements
She is a weightless apparition en pointe
Insatiable
She devours the darkness around her
Chasing the music in spotlighted circles until she has illuminated the floor
And she seems human
For a moment
With quivering muscles and bleeding toes and breath behind her painted lips
But then the music stops and she falls
As a petal to the floor
Folding into herself and
becoming the silence

Horse Creek Reservoir

We built a fire next to horse creek reservoir
The frozen water bubbling with dormant life and summer secrets
And we stared into growing flames and apologized
Without speaking
For letting the fire ever go out
Both of us wishing we had burned alive
Instead of drowning on the periphery
Of greatness

By morning I was alone trying to light the ashes
Trying to reanimate even a spark on the cold mountain sand
But the time had passed for such forgiveness
And I wept
For twice as long as I burned
Until my memory of you sank deep in the water
Dormant for as long as this
winter lasts

Becoming a Moonchild

I remember the moon from before I knew who I was becoming
Waning slivers of hope
Hiding the worst of me in shadows
And waxing halos of forgiveness
Shining gentle light on my sins
Giving me time to repent before the full moon
And I waited on my knees
Until the maddening blue light crept into every chamber and illuminated
The gore
God how many times I let it drive me insane
Unable or unwilling to hide
Or run
Or heal
Because I knew the darkness always returned
A new moon for an old soul
A cycle of crippling fear
A woman living for a couple days of darkness

And now the same truth seeking sphere of light
Welcomes home her naked daughter
All her sins and secrets dissolve into darkness
And her soul is illuminated
A woman living for light in the darkness

Lost in music

My fingers tear across the hard brass strings.
They ache to find the right note
the right chord
to trigger my memory.
I found you once in a diminished B 7
but you vanished and moved on
and I’ve been playing ever since.
And what if you’re a melody,
Lost in a pattern in these goddamned frets.
Then I’ll learn to write songs
like I learned to play guitar.
I’ll find you, I swear,
and I’ll play you until I fall asleep.
I’ll play you until I bleed.
I’ll play you until I remember
or hallucinate the feeling
of your beautiful, calloused fingers on my face.

My Love I Love to Listen

I love the way your tongue limps over consonants
But lingers idly on some
Is it linguistics that makes your love
Holy
Is there a cathedral behind your lips
That no one can see
Is it the Irish Sea I hear in your whisper
Come closer
Let’s get lost in translation and I’ll taste what I can’t understand
The details just don’t matter
I heard love
That L that limps forward on your palate like the
Liffey limps toward Dublin Bay
The O that’s as soft and hollow as the
Crypts at Clonmacnoise
The V that vibrates on your lips like the tender hum of
Spirits ten thousand years old
And an E
As silent as the fields of Athenry
Sweet sound, let me swallow your meaning
And I’ll never starve again