Speak The Mag

As if the sound means forever,
I hold that name, her name 
humming on my lips 

 like desperate spasms of hope
in a newly-pinned butterfly. 

 There’s a weight to it- 
that name she lived  

 for us.

She carried it
where hope writhed the hardest:
in her womb, in her breast. 

 Tethered and unacknowledged
in that space of expected sacrifices 

 Kids don’t know a damned thing
about the wounds they make and leave 
when they no longer make us their homes.  

 They don’t see the residue of our insides 
coating their outsides, painting them as 
our lost appendages. 

 They don’t understand that in some ways, 
sly cancer-coils that burrow and bide 
are gentler than phantom pains of loss. 

Hope atrophies, calcifying 
even the lightest wing, 
shriveling the most obstinate 
strength, until forever 
is nothing but powdered grief;
ashes on my tongue.  

Lydia K. Valentine
meet the author

Lydia K. Valentine

Lydia K. Valentine is a playwright and poet, director and dramaturg, editor and educator. Her proudest accomplishment, though, is being a mom to two creative, intelligent, and caring individuals and activists. In her own writing and the projects to which [...]