CONTEMPLATING EVENT HORIZON ON THE WINTER SOLSTICE IN FLORIDA TWENTY YEARS AFTER MY MOTHER WAS DIAGNOSED WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA
In a room north of here my mother rocks on the edge of a bed. Every hour collapsing
into the next.
Around my mother: ash falls like stardust.
Beside her: an ashtray of cigarette butts
that mark passing hours.
Against my window, a winter sun presses its palm.
Against a window, my mother presses her palm.
Her diagnosis, like snow that falls
in summer. A crocus
frozen beneath the bloom.
As darkness rises & the moon muscles its way into existence,
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.