Don't Mock the Magpie

November 15, 2016
By NightinGem BRONZE, Woodland, California
NightinGem BRONZE, Woodland, California
4 articles 0 photos 1 comment

So here’s how it goes.
I breathe my life into the wind
and the mists carry it to the sea
it soars among the albatrosses
And they bring it back to me.

I’ll show you how to paint the clouds
Just watch your whispers fly
they’re dandelions
sharp with fangs
they make the heavens cry
(just make sure not to be so harsh, their feelings are easily hurt)

Windowframes are doors
you need to open and close them
but not too much
You don’t want to scare the angels
It rains too much here already.

Don’t break the glass
the floor is still stained with
last night’s thread from when you unraveled my trust
I think you should take up knitting.

You know,
I think you forgot
that black and white aren’t colors
but feelings
So don’t mock the magpie
she’s just looking out for you.

I’m holding your heart
it’s warm and moist
with tears and the red of flowers
but your constellation is fading
and I don’t know what to do
(if stars aren’t meteors, then why are yours falling?)

I’ve been thinking
and I don’t think brown looks good on you
it’s not good for porcelain cups
and little birds with red chests
don’t get so far in life

Do you hear me?
I think your radio is broken
because my waves are covering the river
and the fish hear it
do I need better bait?

What color do you think heaven is?
I like orange
because it smells sweet
and the sun tucks us in with it
but I think I’ll go with blue just to be safe
because I don’t want to go blind

Look at the ground and see it
the feathers and fur
I don’t think we should stay
I hear God crying behind the shed.


Catch my breath, chase it high
who knew how fast the wind could shy?
the smoke slips through my fingers
where are the wings of my voice?
(at least with you, i was grasping at straws)


The author's comments:

This poem is, at its core, an incredibly personal account and experience, but conveyed in such an ambiguous, richly worded form that it is not exclusive and closed.

My relationship with my biological mother was, and still is complicated, one of love and conflict, dependence and fear, betrayal and heartbreak. I worshipped my mother as a divine, all-powerful being for the first decade and some of my life, and I only began to see her fallibility around the time I started this poem.

For four years I wrote and rewrote the final stanza, always erasing it and leaving the poem at God crying behind the shed. I knew it couldn't end there, but I just didn't have the understanding to finish it.

And then, I freed myself from the shackles of my biological family. I gained a perspective outside that which I had been confined in, and found new thought. somewhere along the path of recovery, the muse struck. I had come to terms with what my mother did to me, was to me, is to me.

I still feel some semblance of regret, even though I know all has been for the best. I miss the woman who rocked me to sleep, who hugged me when I sobbed, even the woman who glared at me, ignored me. I miss my mother, even if I was grasping at the straws of her approval and love.


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