Mothers’ Day, 2016 by Joanna Lee

Joanna Lee is a finalist of Streetlight Magazine’s 2019 Poetry Contest.


We found two dead babies on the back granite slab
that serves as a stoop, the same
we salvaged from up home years ago, decaying
in dad’s back yard. Birds. Their legs curled
yellow and twisted, contracture of unbecoming;

their angry mother with her shiny eye
tearing the nails from the roof
to get back to the nest
we had so carefully sealed.
Beside the bodies, the debris
of a home: gaping

…….hole in the gutters; pale fluffs
of matted insulation; a casket-less
rot. (The closet eavesdrops
on smell of death.)
We hear the scratch of their plumeless void
through the bedroom ceiling; it says
this is the poem I have put off for weeks now,
about the ghosts of birds,
broken flight,
the eggshell hollow of bone. Outside

a cacophony of green shrills its birthing,
worms writhe in the new ground.
Horseflies, just hatched and already heavy,
gather like guilt on the windows,
press the slow prisms of their eyes to the screen door.
It is always like this, this time of year.

Joanna Lee
Joanna Suzanne Lee earned her MD from the Medical College of Virginia in 2007. Focusing on the intersection of healing and creativity, her poetry has been published in several online & print journals and has been nominated for both Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes. Joanna is a founder of the River City Poets community and an editor, along with Marsha Owens and Judy Melchiorre, of the recently published anthology, Lingering in the Margins.

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