What is left when the water recedes? A mouse
pelvis, two floral hips washed onto soil.
When a vine is cut at midday the wound sweats
sap that beads in sunlight. My uterus is a lake
and I place holy Mary patron saint of loss inside
to guard the contents: flesh, blood, decay
quiet as sacrament. In childbirth I expel
her with the afterbirth. I won’t pray
for two months, will watch the moon
cycle in its bloodlessness. Its sandscape
an infertile ground. They wrap Mary’s son
in a shroud and he rises in three days. I wrap
my daughter in yellow knit and she sinks
with sympathy. Drought brings up
shipwrecks like a body emptying itself
of bones. By nightfall those vines will wither.
Stefanie Kirby is a bilingual mother and poet residing along Colorado’s front range. She studied poetry at Lighthouse Writers Workshop and has taught writing to middle and high school students. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Rust+Moth, Plumwood Mountain, Ethel Zine, and elsewhere.
© Variant Literature Inc 2021