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
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.