In June, Terry gave collaborating poet Elena Karina Byrne four prompts. She engaged in fevered writing with each prompt and gave the results back to Terry. This poem is composed by Terry of words from Elena’s fevered writing.
My mother blackened sunflowers
with her temper; hands splintered dry
stems of lavender, tipped over
the beehive. A lion bride, she
wanted an audience. She threw
her wedding dress into the fireplace,
said her marriage was a nail
in her heart, a funeral for
her sad, invisible childhood.
My coyote father plucked red
ribbons from the flames, carried his
mattress to the horizon, caught
the last prayer of sundown. We
saw him as a constellation,
tinder in the night sky, burning
roof over our heads. When we no
longer saw him, we forgot him
for centuries, an empty mirror.
I was the family ghost, starved
for the moon; a peony set
in soot; nun who knelt by
abandoned windmills. Every
room in the fallen house breathed with
impatience, bathtub filled with
names of the missing. Shiny gun
under the pillow blossomed into
the hungry politics of shame.
In the hothouse, my pink hat aches;
light surrenders to wet silence.
My white teeth shake your lintel, fill
the green corridor. And you, my
cowboy, in your petalled dress, what
will you say to me in tongue-tied
Spanish? Will you bruise the lilacs
of desire, stain my skin holy
with the still-hot ashes of spring?