The 2River View 24.3 (Spring 2020)

Teresa Sutton

Burning Times

Mother, if you saw yourself reflected
in the mirror of this poem’s inky half-tints,
those blues and purples of ghostly nights,

would you burn it alive too? Would you
recite the names listed on the wall
of shame, the mothers and their mothers,

threads broken and knotted back together,
the tincture of certainty that they can
trace an arc of self-disgust far back

by following weary spliced cords
to the garden and the first mother,
the mother of all mothers, her daughter

and all the daughters that scrawled
their mother’s names in books trying
to redraft contours, to shift outcomes

and lessen the mythic significance of fire’s
legacy, its living remnants, embers that beg
to stay hidden in the name of bearing witness.

Last Night I Read That Darkness Can Be Undone

by simply jumping off the ledge of your reflection
into a still lake or even a puddle.

When you hear a dog barking somewhere outside,
run to the streakless window, look down the road

in this quaint old town where you’ve resided
half asleep trying to learn who you are without him

or her or the crows that once filled your yard
or the rocking chairs that faced the moon.

Use the scissors of your fingers to remove the top
of your head and bid the updraft to unsnarl the tangles

of nightfall that you have allowed to creep
around your ankles and neck.

Teresa Sutton lives in Patterson, New York. A retired English teacher and retired adjunct professor, she has three published chapbooks. Her third, Breaking Newton’s Laws, won first place in the 2017 Encircle Publications Chapbook Competition.

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