Rachel Chitofu

A letter addressed to our dead mother

There's no past in our bodies
other than heaven's opaque window
from which rain falls and a certain
device of desire and hunger dared
to be driven out.

Silhouette come crack living
 in black
Carrying the city canopying your version
 of what your flesh should be: sludge-steak
cooked in the overcircling breath of heat 
For me there's no vision
other than that I stir in my notoriously
sad collection of pretty girl teacups
Might sugar nice things up?
Might we rush the wedding 
to the god of nobodies we must have
known before and reflections
of course, of selfless action?
May we hug and hold and kiss
no more?

Each button click, an edible wave lost
in transmission—string of pulse miles
away from your bed and farther underneath.
Typing another password "I interject"
for departed
hands sounding like a storm
of independence without me
having to actually forget you.
The hour slips in and out,
the meaningless penetration 
(scream in silence) of words
 to be postmarked
into every arm's avenue, every trifling scent, the
unbuttoned armor your every last
love letter—fast clinging to skin,
 to change, later this, absorbent
crystalline pages
I tore out the songbook of your
desire addressed to someone new.
Somehow this throat revels grief again.
I'm writing to a man I don't know,
a letter addressed to our dead mother.
Fit for a brain. Fit for a hazard. Fit to
be chained under your bed. Like one
mischievous word I cross the time capsule
to drink the blood-inked essence of a sentence 
overcome by the rain.
Memories devour flesh faster
than any mite might sever
I'm more concerned when it comes
to my mother's body, to stumble
upon it floating gray
over an old coast, rising and falling,
a low hurricane of ash
Not the same eyes or throat
that was sweet, unstarved.
Not the same faucets hissing at
the twilight of a half-falling moon.
In the debris and clutter of the beach
you pick her clothes the same damp
resemblance you'd found her skin to
print in the air. The same heart plunging
in and out of its shelf before the surgeon
said there's nothing more we can do here.
You hear grief again and again, this word
matches your eve, your romance, your wings
you rise up over the table to share a toast
by then your glass already broken , your
guets thin hands of background already
pining up to grab your blood as heart
and teeth come down.
Search words: emergency, ambulance,
no digit types fast enough, disposable words
"No search engine types fast enough"

Such grief makes me think selfishly
regarding the dead.
They've made a better song out
of the wind. Out of my trifling
tears I've climbed again bedrock,
I've found a piece of me.
Some early mornings will wake up
in frost.
Later on my raft of twigs will say
me across the earth to soon
become a soluble edge of ice.
I alone shall disregard those tears
too. And against human providence
cast slander. Thunder here. Storms there.
And with both of them at stake,
a tune of rivers rippling everywhere.
Their fruit crushing, a storm under
our feet. A maybe risky, potentially
— placement for tongue sores.
Now shrines are lined everywhere.
Shrines thin with smoke
Shrines lank with hope.
Did you dare deceive
my mother and compel her
to sign a death notice.
A zested promise is not what
it is. So in my grieving and searching
I should forge a man out of downpour's
tallied winds, ask him what it is.

The girl who talks to herself to keep her from breathing

As he crosses—first the night, then her car
She wishes they could forget, but oh she
wants him to, with every warm inch of
blood vessel that survives in her uncut.
She wants him to do to her
what no one will:
pick up the arrow lying
in the middle of nowhere
like a dead road deer
and park it somewhere
between her eyes obliterating
the dim light of an existence
once and for all.

Girl, pooled in mother's hair
like a bloodied floor.
Woman? Or broken mirror or dead
portrait biting the moon between
its fingers.

Rachel Chitofu writes in Harare, Zimbabwe.
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