My Mother’s Madness

By Nancy Hightower

The memory returns
every January, blurred
like rain on a cracked window.
The ground around us shifting
as narratives were bent and tilted,
Hades ascending.

You left with him,
just before the witching hour,
Silty loam and mud freezing solid for the winter.
I summoned Lazarus
for his official position on the matter,
gummed pomegranate seeds
and asked Orpheus for the handbook
on calling back lost ones.
This was no abduction, they cried,
no death but your own.
Nonetheless, every year
my hands grow numb, turn into
clumsy birds fluttering against
our burial, a frantic clawing
of fingers raked in dirt,
stained beyond recognition.
By dusk I curl up, rooted to the spot
and wait for summer,
for a torrent of suns to unleash
and wash me clean.



Nancy Hightower has published short fiction and poetry in journals such as storySouth, Gargoyle, Prick of the Spindle, and Word RiotKinds of Leaving, her short story collection currently under submission, was shortlisted for the Flann O’Brien Award for Innovative Fiction in 2014. Currently, she reviews science fiction and fantasy for The Washington Post and was featured in the 100 Top Creatives feature in Paul Miller’s Origin Magazine. This summer Port Yonder Press will publish The Acolyte, her first book of poetry.

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