Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2023  Vol. 21  No.3
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Mother Water Ash

Mother gone to ash river gone to drowned
I don’t live here anymore as my friends remind

Now I walk the edge of the Grand Central Parkway
Flushing Meadows Park World’s Fair gone dark

what is ashed and drowned what is abandoned
Mother gone drowned in her body the night

she died alone in New Orleans ashed her cigarette
then left us did I go dark when the N train lost power

on my way home while the burning threaded through
my baby’s hair city doused in ash impossible

to keep the outside out River Road beside my parents’ house
leads to Cancer Alley Mother gone but once with her

I drove through the drowned city two months after
the storm yellowed grass houses gone the road

a slur of empty is it any wonder I’ve followed her advice
to subtract myself Good daughter always till I’m not

did I go dark when she left me when will my daughters
while my mother’s mouth is all slick black feathers  

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