- Visiting My Sister in the Adolescent Ward, and: Glass Forest
Visiting My Sister in the Adolescent Ward
Your baby teeth,Like wooden beads I stringOn a gold thread to pass the hours.My sister, you cannot growAlways smaller. Now your armsCurl like white ribbon in a fire.Your eyes, edged in red.Sister, do you remember whenWe ran into the skyClimbing our winter mountainAnd the hollow was, below,A bowl filled with milk?In your snowsuit, your handsMade of glass, of wind.Here, I watch snow fall:There is no mountain, noMother, no father. BrotherSounding ever more likeSunder. I am waiting for you, nightSounding ever more likeMother, no father, brother.There is no mountain, noHere. I watch snow fallMade of glass, of windIn your snowsuit. Your handsA bowl filled with milk,And the hollow was, below,Climbing our winter mountain.We ran into the sky,Sister, do you remember when?Your eyes, edged in red,Curl like white ribbon in a fire.Always smaller now, your arms.My sister, you cannot growOn a gold thread. To pass the hoursLike wooden beads, I stringYour baby teeth. [End Page 165]
In the glass forest, she knows the colorOf cold. Light like a broken clock, all springsAnd hands across her back as she kneels, lifts
The only thing she knows is pure, anymore—Winter trees cough a stream of black crowsInto the sky. Again, my mother kneels
In the snow to forget, to become a girlWithout scarred arms, lips raw from wire and ash.She falls back to just before I was born,
And I follow her deeper into this forest,Rub salt and ice into our burning skin,Take the quick breath to forget the men, their guns.
Mother, you cannot hear me, but I also wantTo tear loose every soft and hidden partTouched as I slept, as my hands were tied,
As a sister watched, steel barrel cold in the dark—And I would scrape the carbon from my bonesTo leave you barren, lungs filling with snow. [End Page 166]
Poems by Lucien Darjeun Meadows can be found in Beloit Poetry Journal, Ecotone, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Prairie Schooner, and many other journals.