Suppose Your Mother



Because she had thorns I now tread unafraid

through blackberry vines, gloved, bare-armed. Tear


them out, handful by handful. We understand

the necessity of sadness, of sorrow


to be separate entities, the observer

and the observed, magician and audience participant.


The most beautiful death has many hands,

is twined with murmurs and stories and songs.


Let the clay have its bones. Let the wider world

take in the consensual ash of the unbound.


Because she was bound, my mother kept

beyond keeping, breathed beyond believing,


breathed twice when I arrived while I listened

in the spaces between electrons and photons,


between matter and doesn’t. It sounded like

scraping dirt from a shoe, it sounded like nothing


that had ever been made. For weeks I witnessed

the moon’s choreography and imagined  island


adrift   anchor and light and the ribbons left

when the moon snail moves on. Maybe the crows


made of ash keep to the task of deathwatch

for her sake, and beauty really is a matter


of consciousness. Or a glass of wine daily

because my mother had thorns.

Poet and photographer, Ronda Broatch is the author of Lake of Fallen Constellations, (MoonPath Press, 2015), Shedding Our Skins, and Some Other Eden, (2005). Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Ronda is the recipient of an Artist Trust GAP Grant, a May Swenson Poetry Award finalist, and former editor of Crab Creek Review. Her journal publications include Atlanta Review, Prairie Schooner, Fourteen Hills, Mid-American Review, and Fire On Her Tongue: An Anthology of Contemporary Women’s Poetry (Two Sylvias Press).