All war, under law, will from this September day
on a dirt road in northern Maine where
Albertine Cyr flies her French mourning hands
into the night, often into the day, be conducted by women.
The sucklers will choose where to place the charge,
whose child to take, and what reason is good enough to send
Otto Schroeder’s daughter, Muzah Boieh’s brother,
Albertine’s youngest son into the fire.
She enters the room where her Freddie slept,
palms the feathered pillow’s sack, the one
that rubbed his night cheeks.
Experienced witness to vulnerability,
spooner and changer, cradler of whole bodies,
her big heart swells in the cramped air
of this dark curled into its own cell.
Cap on the dresser. Church shoes by the bed.
Red fishing jacket on the doorknob.
She bruises a war cry from her tongue to slash
bayonet, napalm, missile from her vocabulary,
and smoke shadow-writing up from the merciless
shine of bones onto the moony walls: blood, earth,
broken hearts, supple hands, hunger, a milky mother,
hope, and open-mouthed bass in the morning.
The Other Side of Sorrow