Poem With Two Mothers by Leah Tieger

Under my mother’s halo
I am born a tongue
of doubt in a dry season
lasting years.
If she knows me
as feathered grass
I know her katabatic
devil winds
and prednisone.
Too much
relies on air’s direction.
At her flash point
she grips my hand
until the bones kiss.
We pass
from one burning to another.
When she shakes
her fist I wait
in the frame of a door.
I inherit
her trembling ground and a habit
for disaster.
Every day a flock of deer
crosses the freeway.
On the other side
of rainless hills, a frayed
electric rope
and a wind to carry it home.
Plant me a stand of palm trees
to candle the dusk
gilding our roofline.
My hands will ashen the book
inside them.
To heal
we must understand
what happened and why.
Mother of blood I am born
from you less.
I came
from the mouth of dirt.
How could she
abandon us? Because
we did it first.
Leah Tieger lives in a house with more windows than walls. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Colorado Review, Pleiades, Carolina Quarterly, Redivider, and other places.