Melissa Studdard

From this sorrow

I birth a family of sorrows.

I birth my own mother

but she’s already grown.

She’s not a woman. She’s

a sky stealing snow from winter.

I send up kites to try to reach her.

I tie love notes to their tails.

But, no, she’s not a sky.

She can’t hear me.

She’s a mink scuttling across

the floor of morning. I lay

out cheese to try to trap

her, but she won’t bite. She

roams the marshes,

a black flash


into cattails.

I put on my tall yellow

boots to follow.

She’s in the middle

of the marsh, a pier

jutting from her stomach.

She’s a house

now. She has no doors

or windows. She grows

smaller. Just a speck

on a ledge in a room. She

holds a key. I try to steal it.

I won’t let her open

the cabinet

of her death.


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