Mary Stone Dockery
Finally, I wanted to give up my grief,
the boiling cocoon wrapped in beeswax
and scent of burning lilac, the concrete
heaviness of my arms, the heat of cicadas
crossing my mother’s bones, these dreams
entombed in chlorine and warm sheets.
My mother’s quartz heart shined beneath
layers of dry dirt. I hadn’t had it in me
to imagine something beyond the weather.
The thermometer on the back porch
had broken years before, or even melted
from touch of tongue and hands checking.
Cemeteries bled with dried grass, russet
and bronzed leaves, as if I kept dropping
flames the shape of my mother’s eyes
or burned pearls. I didn’t know calloused
seasons kept returning. The char and burn
was natural, an element of my skin,
smelled of my mother’s childhood home
catching fire, of magnified petals, of frying pan
spittle of oil and grease, hot vapor.
Even in October, I’d find bath water
red as ulcers, or a child’s jump rope
curled on a steely front porch like the recently
shed skin of a snake, crackling with steam.
Mary Stone Dockery ‘s first poetry collection, Mythology of Touch, will be released by Woodley Press in 2012. She is the author of two chapbooks, Aching Buttons (Dancing Girl Press) and Blink Finch (Kattywompus Press), both forthcoming. Her poetry and prose has appeared in many fine journals, including Weave Magazine, Gargoyle, South Dakota Review and > kill author, among others. She currently lives in Lawrence, KS, where she co-edits Stone Highway Review.
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