Before My Mother’s Funeral
Dressed in his preaching suit, raven squawks
about what we’re given and what we give
ourselves over to.
The last of the forest churches are being sawn,
toppled to make a thing we can sit on or eat from.
The trees look back at us and see only emptiness.
In turn we dig holes deep in the dirt’s chest:
a people of fire burning what will burn.
On her deathbed my mother swore
she heard the Lord God bird knocking.
The proof’s in the body, but the coroner
won’t open the drawer.
Wake Up, Sleeper, and Arise
The third of thirteen moons appears
between rainstorms. My mother is unable
to fix her mind for even a few moments.
Night removes the bandages from its eyes,
squints through the slits of stars.
Beyond the window she spies late river ice
cut by soft light and flood water.
A piece of reflected sky in the hands
of the suffering. A pane to peer through,
to raise and round the moon in.
Her thoughts turn over on swift river
currents, and she calls for us to rise.
We already stand in a circle
around the bed.