By the River Root
Born sour and folded in dough.
Baked an hour before you hatched.
You remember the water,
Its petals, in peals, in bells incessant
On your limbs like a new beginning,
But not what came after,
Heat of the stone.
You’re exactly the length of geese on glaciers,
Gullets trout-full and choking up moon.
Precisely the width of woven cats.
Their pure whispers
Strung on fences and frames
All angles all edges
Before they slip through.
Your mother twisted light and shadow,
Sloughed off film that tarred your lungs
Just so you could call out in the black.
Just so you could call her back
From where she’s gone
Or where she’s been.
One thrush coughs throaty with night.
Sour child now call it back.
Shannon Cuthbert is a writer and artist living in Brooklyn. Her poems have appeared in The Orchards Poetry Journal, Writers’ Cafe Magazine, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry, among others. Her work is forthcoming in Dodging the Rain, Plum Tree Tavern, Amethyst Review, and Hamilton Stone Review.