She will swoop from the clouds
in a white gown edged in antique lace,
cackling, crying her lost loves,
her bony fingers riffling the grass
near the muddy riverbanks.
Her black hair, wild as willows,
will switch your face if you pass,
and if you wade even to your shins
she will twine you in her hair,
drag you by your ankles, and–
silt against scalp, grit between teeth–
you will flail down river, to a river below
the river, darker than anthracite,
colder than salts dripping off stalactites.
She will crack your ribs, your eyes
straining like fish eggs in a membrane.
If you could breathe, you would wail
Mother, I am not your child.
Christine Swint’s poems appear in Slant, a Journal of Poetry,Tampa Review, Flycatcher, Hobble Creek Review, Mom Egg Review, Heron Tree, and others. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best New Poets. She lives in metro Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, her two sons, and their dogs, Red and Duffy. She writes weekly at Balanced on the Edge, at http://christineswint.com