Instructions to Understanding Mother – Nicelle Davis

July 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

Unhitch her. Take her a part one layer at a time. Gut her. Don’t stop—not even at the
recognition of origins—warm as a newborn in your hands.
Taking yourself off will be more difficult. Hook your thumbs under your eyelids. Pull
until the skin snaps off like a latex glove. Unravel the red twine of flesh and knit it into
a scarf. Snap your bones into a pile of twigs to nest your egg-frail eyes. Wad the pumps
and valves into a laundry basket. Take what’s left and proceed to the next step.
Link her bones with rubber bands. Blow the heart up and stick it to the ribs with
pink chewing gum. Plop the brain into the skull like hot oatmeal in a bowl. Install
the mussel and gristle, same as you would a chicken wire fence. Wrap the skin like a
quilt around the corpse. Insert yourself through the coin-slot mouth. Now, you are her.
I’d call my daughter, but she only hears a drug addict. I’ve all but disappeared. But in me
is a world of inexpressible light. What if I told her—
I have felt the hand of the sun, with its thousand fingers sprouting new hands at every
touch—I have cried a spider infested ivy that chokes me in my sleep—I have missed you
until a knot of roots has claimed all the earth of me—Remember, you and I were once the
same fistful of dirt—your speak echoes my voice. Daughter, this is your mother calling,
come home.

Birds in the Reeds - Layla Blackshear


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