Roots and Rituals

Rosalie Alley, New Orleans 2009

Roots and Rituals


when you say,
            Give me silence,
                        purify my sour heart –


I prepare yellow gills of liminal poison
brush damp earth from caps
scented of hoar and musk,
slice then grind under mortar and pestle
emetic fungi, season with butter and salt.

Amnesia wavers on the skin of your lips,

on the edge of abyss, I wipe your drowning 

sweat, wrap your chilling bones 

as we hold the relinquished close 

between us.

when I say,

               death wafts in this house,
                            I do not like the way it dwells –

I scrub clean the iron pot

the cerulean bowl

our fingerprints melting with soap

snap shut the book, snuff the candles,

stave off the grave once more

Inspired by the film Phantom Thread.

Published in Mojave Heart Review, 2019


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