Two Poems by Sage Ravenwood

Blood Boils a Family Whole

We can’t see the weight of festering want
Just out of reach     We taste
Darkness on lips tar sealed      honey stung
How do you hate/love
With a rope burned heart
Familial    brother/sisterhood     abandoned
            ethnicity scorched belonging
When a parent dies      Is it relief or grief
What remains       from distilled pain
Hallelujah      praise the distance between
            mothers and daughters who refuse
            to be saved in your God’s name
Someday the call will come
Rib-caged shackled lungs screaming
Emancipation      tongues bit clean through
            sharpened on inescapable jagged truths
Can you see in your mind’s eye
The cost to belong      Blood boils a family whole
Dodadagohvi – we will see each other again
Standing among hellfire’s burnt religion
May your savior have mercy on your soul
Mine savors death with all my relations
Walking behind me     comfort me not

Mother Monster

Mother’s Day is jagged and sharp edged,
          cutting deep the umbilical cord
          bloodied by a desperate need to belong.
Birth isn’t a biological clock, tick tock
          uterus push, blush expel
          the baby out the vagina, please.
No need the unwanted pregnancy.
Some mother’s desire
          the life inside, not out.
If I were a harp seal, mother could have
          weaned me in weeks, abandoning
          me on an iceberg wilting away
          before I learned to swim.
I could have been a cuckoo chick,
          a lazy mother left in another nest forgotten;
       Raised by an altogether different species,
          crushing unknown brethren.
Black bear motherhood
          requires more than one.
       The one she abandons, two or more
          she’ll raise. As if the one
          wasn’t honorable enough. I wasn’t.
You though were a bit like a black eagle,
          watching her chick’s sibling
          winged rivalry for attention until
          one kills the other inside.
Favoritism is mother’s favorite game.
Mother? Monstrous giver, like a rabbit
          who only briefly visits the burrow,
          doing as little mothering as required.
Love wasn’t, isn’t required.
The uterus push, expelled body likeness,
          into birth, does not a mother make.
A child isn’t property used as a bargaining chip,
          love quest, unloved currency.
Mother may I, father may I not,
          forgive a mother. Love is required.

Sage Ravenwood @SageRavenwood is a deaf Cherokee woman residing in upstate NY with her two rescue dogs, Bjarki and Yazhi, and her one-eyed cat Max. She is an outspoken advocate against animal cruelty and domestic violence. Her work can be found in Glass Poetry – Poets Resist, The Temz Review, Contrary, trampset, Pittsburgh Poetry Journal, and Sundress Press anthology – The Familiar Wild: On Dogs and Poetry. Forthcoming – Grain Magazine, Massachusetts Review, and Gothic Blue Book Volume VI, A Krampus Carol, Smoke & Mold.

Banner: The House, The Moon, a painting by Robert Frede Kenter. Oil pastel on paper. Twitter: @frede_kenter

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