Under the magnolia tree
she blooms a body without serotonin.
She has scrambled her letters in mud
till they blow soft into the marshes.
When she lifts the canoe paddle
her arms ache with what cannot be held.
Afterward, she wanted to sleep
a month without language.
Wanted to scramble up some attic stair,
point from a window
at all the winged things.
They left her there dreaming,
seizing small mercies,
sewed her as a glove, soft up the sides.
To climb again she must learn
to unstiffen inch by inch,
prescribe herself many unmown lawns,
a sunset or a thousand laid bare.
Must take for granted getting high on magnolias,
a horizon that won’t hold still.
Must swallow enough of each tomorrow
to raise it wavering
as an oar which knows
to slice just enough to shake rivers loose,
push off against a silty floor.
Something in you wild as a star
alighting on this earth some time.
In the kitchen, at the sink, you glow.
Your hands in my hair, smoke of you.
The way I shattered once you held me
turned a stone-pile, twisted in wind.
I tangle you in the yard, my arms
strong with the work of last year.
Together, bearing marks of sun
we open, let in all we’ve birthed.
Shannon Cuthbert is a writer and artist living in Brooklyn. Her poems have been nominated for three Pushcarts, and have appeared in journals including Dodging the Rain, Hamilton Stone Review, and The Oddville Press. Her work is forthcoming in Sparks of Calliope, Ghost City Review, and Thimble Literary Magazine, among others.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.