when the mother was eggs, blood, and salt
when the mother was bud, blossom, and fruit
when the mother was migraines, cysts, and sacs 
when the mother’s lit firecracker in her arteries

when the mother was stone was bone cancer 
flowering lung, liver, from flowering womb 

when the breast branched into berry brambles
did she feel her heart chambers darkened

when the mother was a uterine entombment
when the mother was not goddess not golden 

when the mother was not silken but sutured
serpentine stitches edging her sisters’ quilting 

when her landscape withered, hot, and parched 
when birds dispersed her burs (her diaspores)  

when the mother lamented rivers, so dammed 
her whole earth’s inertia shifted, axis tilted up

and all the water spilled, spilled and filled her 
did she know her spirit was shedding her flesh 

transfiguring into cool pinpricks of midnight
did the mother know she was already in ascent 
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