Copyright 2018

Sister Suicide

Jean Mikhail

I can see a spring

when I will not be here, see

with a statue’s painted eyes

with the eyes of purple crocuses

sprouting too early,

in the eye sockets of an ice storm.

I have worn my breast bone flesh

like a red banner of valiente life.

I am the steam off a deer’s muzzle.

I am light mice skimmering across snow.

My eyes blink like a failing streetlight.

I am the flickering moth’s obsession

with illumination.

My spirits twist, stuck

like a plastic bag fluttering in a tree.

I do not belong to the natural world.

I no longer even belong to my mother.

Late last night I saw the white deer

step out from her pocket of woods.

She glowed with every feeling

I have ever had, all my love and hate.

What I would give to be like her.

I have learned to speak late

but I’ve spoken the truth.

I was born with a hole in my throat.

My mother rose up from her bed to sew it shut.

She trembled while physicians’ palms

laid across me like the leaves of an oak.

She knotted the incision,

breaking the stitch with her teeth.

When my own mother speaks to me,

She says You are too heavy a burden to bear.

To my sisters, she complains

The girl is too much.

I can see a spring when I will not be here.

See Easter flowers withering away, justly

pinned to her lapel.

When she plants the flowers of spring,

I will nudge their seed shells lightly.

I will plot the story of every ghost white root.


Jean Mikhail has published in Fifth Wednesday Journal, Canary, #queer (an anthology), and others.