That silver dawn bears no weight, its last wooly leaves are fire coral sunk to the bottom of the branch worn bare. Night coming early bears no weight—at five p.m. the day shuts closed like a clam’s stony mouth. My daughter calls for me, and I begin to weave the narrative of motherhood: the matted wool woven around our ankles, an ancient’s net tied to the bed for an oyster’s life span. This is not only metaphor. My daughter calls for me from her bed, her voice an unworn splinter, an arrow in the dark, a skein. Over and over the cat walking across our bodies in gray shadow, like me, unable to settle, unable to rest. Awake to my daughter’s shouts as if falling into water, the night air a whip to the face. Without moon, I can’t see what isn’t here. Plum picked clean as the seafloor. Mirror of the night sky washed in red yarn. Mirror of my daughter’s photograph. Pearl’s blue light.
Meghan Sterling’s work has been published or is forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review, Rhino Poetry, Nelle, Colorado Review, Poetry South, and many others, and has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes. Her debut poetry collection, These Few Seeds (Terrapin Books), came out in 2021 and was a Finalist for the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize in Poetry. Her chapbook, Self-Portrait with Ghosts of the Diaspora (Harbor Editions) her collection, Comfort the Mourners (Everybody Press) and her collection, View from a Borrowed Field, which won Lily Poetry Review’s Paul Nemser Book Prize, are forthcoming in 2023. Read her work at meghansterling.com.
Philip Kobylarz is an itinerant teacher of the language arts and writer of fiction, poetry, book reviews, and essays.