All I know is, when her soul
seemed to fail her, I had no choice.
In the lifting up I became another
venturing, could shake far cries in realms
unguessed. Nor could I return
without the shade of her
who carried me into her need, beyond
from The Violence of Unseen Forms,
the collection Dear Ghosts
Weary of the saga
our obsession with the saga,
I blot out the light.
But I dream of spots on a car’s upholstery,
chlorophyll, chloroform, duct tape–
skull bones taped to jaws
prodigious prosecutors opining
defense lawyers like runners
on the rim of time
the sonnets of their testimonials.
We cannot escape collective obsession
the will fails and we pitch into it
where we sink in beyond mere mercies
like wet tar
witness to the witnesses
forgetting who looks out
from our dry, rebuking eyes.
First: the mother– she binds herself to the mast
the mother, her moony madness
her tan and frosted hair.
Then I watch your face, the mad
daughter’s face. Ophelia then Persephone.
A Magdelene, a mime. Soon it is a face
I see in the mirror instead of my own.
the dark hair, the lashed blue eyes,
the resolved rouged mouth.
I see the bones laid out,
the small skull
and I think of the child
with cornflower eyes
I had torn from me.
I see the grandmother with the child
stepping into a dream of water
And I remember my own drowning
in the seas of the world
setting a course
only to end up hooked
at the edge of the waterfall
So that someone in a helicopter
had to come and haul me up
into his khaki-sheathed arms.
We all want to be saved.
But if you held her underwater
were you not drowning yourself.
If you drugged her
Kissing her with an eyedropper of chloroform
like a mother bird
even as you sped away
into the night
its profaning neon havens
have you not
for all time.
We want evidence to tell us the truth
but it bears the circumspection of chaff.
I want to know what my father
did to me to make me give myself
so freely to men who remind me
He cannot tell me;
his is the stillness
of the earth around dwarfed pine trees
I want my mother to rise from the dead
to forgive my dispossession of her
but I weep in the dusk
while someone says I must forgive myself.
Truth is the acetylene–
it sears away the infected flesh
of the most gilded, all-deluding lie.
in your living tomb
Tell the truth. tell it to the world.
I will stand with you
fellow murderer, fellow thief,
Shame runs a course like a river of fire.
Unaware of this, the old dusty men
of the courts, lairs redolent
lay their hands on our white marble bodies.
They cut our hearts out of our chest
they open our legs
and crawl back in to the womb
like brown worms screwing themselves
into the loam.
Even so we think that the lies we tell
to save ourselves
to our souls. I remember
terrorizing a small and vulnerable thing
until it hated and feared me
And I denied that I had brought torment
into the world
And then I hated and feared myself.
until I begged that one’s forgiveness
and my shame pried my mouth open
there, the black pearls of truth
next to the chalice of my own blood.
Beautiful damned girl, say it. Rise up.
Open your veins: bleed
into the cup.
copyright Jenne’ R. Andrews 2011
Feel free to share but attribute to me. I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Facebook.