Inheritance Age four maybe five she opens her mother’s jewelry box to star-fire dispersion, the strange mechanics of lobster claws, chain clasps bracelets broken-jawed, ropes of amber and jade, heavy fruit of gems, of grandmothers she never knew, bulky shanks of pewter, of silver pinked like the sky at dusk—all the ways light can be caught and kept—finds a pouch black velvet, finger-sized, opens it (don’t), inside it a star, a crumb of light, the lowest common denominator between you and the universe, you are less small, less lost in a house of voices large as brass bedrails, as broken pianos, you forget it might slip through your fingers to the rug, colored old boxes, dusty attic, she finds you, drags the shag, rasps her palms combing for that stone, sobbing, her emblem of infinity lost to infinity, pulls you both into a denser, blacker place where she is no longer your mother just a woman wrecked sometimes I am surprised by my own placidity my girl comes to me, cowed, wide eyed with memory—a shoestorm, sudden hot squall, sky-blackened winds and debris, one purple tent forever wrecked—pulls me to her room mommy don’t be mad to confess: thick slick of ointment caked on her dress, on all four walls, the sheen of grease making a maze of mirror mirrors—tell me, who will be the victim of this small crime? Look— a grazing cow, her jaw pondering mysteries—nothing keeps the grass from worshipping the wind hold you, it was never about you let us lie down in this new pasture, sprawl in the soft grasses of some bigger love than us lose ourselves in their shush and sway, let cloud shadows wash over us, bless us with flickering light with miles and orchards of light Neighbor Lady Suffers Stroke like paddles licking like sculling boats, some law propels on a current raisin scree swirls on waterskin congresses in mangroves, argues tampon taxes, electoral school litanies of rights and lefts quilt patterns she floats on autumn lacquered to light gathering quivers arrows whisper branches painted black-- River! rushes out of her, warm, she her arms moving it, hair growing long and a color with plankton, she listens how she made it here it’s night, the light pricks flash in bright rings, the Andy Gibb trills like a siren, go towards the glittering necklace the black bead, she is pulled into another big bang place her other self and she will smell each other’s hair, will say again to her children Eat every last bean! and to each other not enough
Elizabeth Cranford Garcia’s work has or will soon appear in publications such as Boxcar Poetry Review, SoFloPoJo, Mom Egg Review, Psaltery & Lyre, Dialogist, several anthologies, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her first chapbook, Stunt Double, was published in 2016 through Finishing Line Press. She is the current Poetry Editor for Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought and a SAHM of three in Acworth, Georgia. Read more of her work at elizabethcgarcia.wordpress.com
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