necromancy

by Jennifer Wilson

 

my mother gets her tricks

from the grave

 

as she digs them

she opens her mouth to the earth

and swallows everything

the rocks and the worms

 

with her blackened teeth

she makes prayer

shrill as a magpie

looking for the light of god

glint on polished stone

 

the calling of the birds blackens the sky

with a vastness of wings

gathered from the trees and spread

to the turning of the sun

 

and reticent the corpse

winds itself free of the folded sheet

and smiles anew

 

bidden by the birds it tugs

the teeth clean of its head

and hands them

to my mother who keeps them

comfortably in her own

 

behind her teeth the others speak

a chorus rich in iron

 

she chews but does not swallow

and the rattles

and the rot

the swilling of the roots reveals

piecemeal the magic

and the language of the dead

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