2 sides: reclamation & resurrection with my mother

 

side a: reclamation

my mother covers the kitchen table with baskets of dried flint corn & gourds, situates a cattle skull she found in the woods on the railing of the front porch like the effigy of an unbeliever. she squats over a dead fawn in the backyard, sacrificed to dogs & old summer air. pokes at the rolls of its browned empty skin. touches its dirty hip bone. in the morning, vultures halo the house, squawking, so she raises her arms & squawks back, then carries the fawn carcass to the trash can in an empty horse feed bag, shiny brown braid swinging like dark rope down her back. she tells me that living here is a form of resistance, says we’re some type of down-home country & yet so wholly not from these parts. these backwoods, where no one in our family has ever lived, where dead only means dead in the way that proceeds resurrection but the old cattle processing plant up the river pulverized the resurrection out of those animals & buried a thousand cow skeletons down in the dirt by our river. we do not dwell on this.

 

side b: resurrection

during the long car ride home, my mother slows down in the middle of the road to watch 3 horses, colored alight like flint corn & autumn & the sunset sheen on the back of a polished

skull. she recalls aloud: caballos, amigos, los tres caballos que son amigos. clicks her tongue at her own good enunciation, but i don’t know if she’s talking to a ghost or me. she speaks the sun-gold thing of heritage, the throats & thighs we never lost when we crossed the river.

 

like the dead & their resurrection / reclamation, we have our own bodies to be lost: the language, the voices, the dark corn, the seashells & the feathers, the old southwest cowgirl painting up on the fireplace mantle. all the things my mother won’t let die.