DAUGHTER OF CAIN
As sons and songs go some precede
the others like a major chord,
barbed as they are with the mercies
of an inheritance. The winter I lost my skin
to my cousins in a cedar hollow, my father’s spade
silver in my ear, a wolf’s head
found me in a field of downed
hemlock, took my left hand
when I couldn’t reunite it with its body.
I know it seems like surrender
that I knelt to its wake.
It would seem like surrender that I gave my right
hand to its cold flame as it swept the meadows
like a thin hunter.
It was nothing. Except it was silver.
It steals through the blood when the north wind
returns to claim what I lack, and I kneel once more.
I kneel once more:
heaven knows what hell
moved his offering to another war.
Trees stopped crying as they were cut
and whispered as they fell –
here into the drawn breath
of another morning, once-phantom moons
sprouting from the old stumps like a second coming,
surely a god somewhere.
O god somewhere: find me
in some bramble among the crows, sealed in prayer.
Find me in these woods
where we die and rise again.
Hannah Lee Jones’s poetry and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Superstition Review, Literary Orphans, Apogee, Yes Poetry, decomP, Cider Press Review, and Orion. She edits Primal School, a resource for poets pursuing their craft without an MFA, and lives on Whidbey Island in northwest Washington.