I was carved from a woman carved from jasper, caves and other women, dunes lifting out from the hot blue sea, carnations.
She became a cave herself over time, a place the sun couldn’t touch. On her own at an odd new
end of the ocean, green as olives, displaced, she laid her body down again and again. A mess of small deaths. Dripping.
She said the dead live in our hands—arranging wood for the fire, blood brimming under fingernails, bones thrown in bowls—
she said the dead play chess in the graveyards in Villamblard, carrying jasper in their pockets and obsidian between their teeth.
She said her mother’s hands were the first stones she pulled from her pockets. A dark she couldn’t put down, wet cave for a mouth.
I think she fled her tongue, mother full of saltwater, full of sand, body laid down and carved from a dune too far away to lose.
I think she tried to be a mother with empty hands but a hole is never not full of something—
Audrey Gidman is a queer poet living in Maine. Her poems are forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Wax Nine, SWWIM, Luna Luna and elsewhere. Her chapbook, body psalms, winner of the Elyse Wolf Prize, is forthcoming from Slate Roof Press. Twitter // @audreygidman.