TERRA FIRMA

 

I sink my heels into darkness, that silky tether.

Grief is an island of mercy touching my skin.

It hurts like hell to bury your mother.

 

Longing is my other story—not cancer,

not coma hushing her into its dirty hymn.

I sink my heels into darkness, that silky tether.

 

Too wicked to die, I thought she’d live forever.

She seethed all night on cigarettes and gin.

It hurts like hell to bury your mother.

 

I swallowed her storm, as if love was duty, not weather.

Surges, riptides braising my heart with her din.

I sink my heels into darkness, that silky tether.

 

I hated the menthol musking her black leather

jacket. I still tangle my body up in its sensuous sin.

It hurts like hell to bury your mother.

 

What is pain but a story of mercy? It lingers

in my blood. All things end to end again.

I sink my heels into darkness, that silky tether.

It hurts like hell to bury your mother.

 

 

Sara Henning is the author of View from True North (Southern Illinois University Press, 2018), co-winner of the 2017 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition Award. Winner of the 2019 High Plains Book Award, it was short listed by Jacar Press for the 2018 Julie Suk Award. She was awarded the 2015 Crazyhorse Lynda Hull Memorial Poetry Prize, the 2019 Poetry Society of America’s George Bogin Memorial Award, and a Tennessee Williams Scholarship in poetry to the 2019 Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Henning teaches writing at Stephen F. Austin State University, where she also serves as poetry editor for Stephen F. Austin State University Press.

Table of Contents | Next Page