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2018 Poetry

Erika Goodrich

CONTEMPLATING EVENT HORIZON ON THE WINTER SOLSTICE IN FLORIDA TWENTY YEARS AFTER MY MOTHER WAS DIAGNOSED WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA


[1]

In a room north of here my mother rocks on the edge of a bed. Every hour collapsing
into the next.

[2]

Around my mother: ash falls like stardust.

Beside her: an ashtray of cigarette butts
become dashes
                             that mark passing hours.

[3]

Against my window, a winter sun presses its palm.

Against a window, my mother presses her palm.


[4]

Her diagnosis, like snow that falls
in summer. A crocus

frozen beneath the bloom.

[5]

            As darkness rises & the moon muscles its way into existence,

Stars flower
& flame:

            little
                        elegies.

But brief moments of being.

IF NOT THE BODY, THEN


what does a woman own? If not her name.

If not the prayer nailed to her tongue. If not

the hours of submission. If not
the bones grown inside her like a city

of glass. If not the sky. Or the shadow
-s cast by the sun. If not, then—

Under night’s cathedral, I kneel.
Next to the roses & rhododendrons

wisteria wilts in the garden. Water
moves through me, empty as wind.

Lord, I never asked for this.
I never asked for my body to be a petal

bent at the mercy of unforgiving
winds. For rain to rise

in my throat. Lord, why
did you make me to ache, a naked

stem? A woman. Why did you make me
your pilgrim with iron-wings?


Erika Goodrich is a graduate student at the University of South Florida. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Nashville Review, CALYX Journal, Juxtaprose Literary Journal, The Pinch Journal, Spoon River Poetry Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, among others.