Hanging Heart 2
By Danielle Mitchell

Who am I without you & the open-heart system of your dining room table? The daughters gathered there, little birds in their breasts all fluttering & wide mouthed. Teach me your lessons from the vacuum. In the absence of our mother you are my mother. In your memory I’m always a woman. A little reflection of yourself come early. Before the girls began to grow inside you & we planted the willow in the backyard beside your pond to remind you of our grandmother—& now those girls, long & weepy, sprout in their new bodies by the pool. Where did your longing go? When did you know that your young sister was full of wings & light & forgetting the absence she needed you for. Laid in the yard, wanting to be in your image to nest & go & the kitchen & the side yard where the muse keeps caged always at least one beautiful bird of prey. Why are you always so busy? How do you keep the days as they tumble out from clogging at your feet? Like prayers. Like groceries. What are we if not the answer to the other.

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