KR OnlinePoetry

When You Call My Body an Odd Thing

Once I was the sonnet inside you.
Fetal, compressed. Remember our thirst?—
And what you wanted, garnet words turning
in their beds. This was back when you held weather
before you felt it break. Back before the fathers
and their pills, the winds that shrilled
and shrank us. Sorry
you almost wrote, rhyming worry
into my heart’s code.

Once I was the umbrella.
Inside you, the dead sent rain.
I know now I was something held, your
Little Shadow, little shade: I opened
to catch a bright stigma of stars
that fell across dark fields. Then our hurts
became finger-painted roses, sealed—full-blown
and folded flat, unpeeling into wet,
mirrored blooms.

Now you can’t hold me anymore.
You see the sky, strange and heavy.
You hand me your lipstick, your purse, hard things
that shine night-black and away. You look into them
and see your body, your body.
Mother, if you don’t know me now,
don’t you know the stone I was
inside you? Can’t you make room for the ring
beneath your tongue? Just
open your hand a minute, hold it.
You don’t have to call it blue
or beautiful. You don’t have to keep it warm.

Sally Rosen Kindred
Sally Rosen Kindred is the author of two poetry books from Mayapple Press, Book of Asters (2014) and No Eden (2011). She has received two Individual Artist Awards in Poetry from the Maryland State Arts Council, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Adroit Journal, Pleiades, and Gettysburg Review. She is currently at work on her third full-length collection of poems.