Cassondra Windwalker (Freedom 2022)

Cassondra Windwalker

the ravens are all dead

the salmon choke out
on rocks at the ocean mouth

and the tide has cast off
the tug of the moon

no? no.

it is only one more skull
piled outside the city gates,
only one more feast to fill
the bellies of the fat,
only one more lie told as truth
to wax-filled ears

so, I will still pick among the carcasses,
make meat of misery, find food
for fury in the bodies of my brothers,
send sun-lit flames flashing
from ebony wings to the eyes of the blind

I will swim upstream, I will transform
from silent gray to crimson outrage,
I will plant my seed and glory
as its life consumes my own

I will turn to the moon
and say, drive me,
drive me against this sand

together let us mold
a new earth,
and alter all these shores.

Our Mother’s Children

I have forgotten their names,
she is muttering, her arms clasped
‘round her knees as she rocks herself
back and forth, and I must
lean in, strain to hear her
over the planes and the shouting
and the crumbling,
but I am grateful to pretend
this is more important, that her words
carry more weight than those bombs do – 

whose names? I ask,
and her eyes clutch mine, 
full of tears.
My children’s names, she says,
but she has no children.

likely neither of us
will ever have children,
likely neither of us
have more than a month, a week,
an hour of our own,
but now I too am crying,
rocking myself in empty arms like a babe:

we have all lost
we have all forgotten
the names of our children,
of our mother’s children

we heap graves upon them
we cannot mark.

April Eighth

away they would go,
and away they went

each clutching their scant hoard of self,
whatever that still comprised:
coats and hats and photographs
and ID cards and grandmother’s jewelry
and her son’s hand
and his daughter’s chubby little legs
slung over his shoulders

away they would go, 
and away they went

away from screaming sirens
and bombed-out buildings,
away from bodies in the streets
and torture in basements,
from torn throats and torn skirts

away they would go, 
and away they went

they were waiting on a train
that did not come,
in a graveyard where timetables stood crosses:
their tickets punched,
their journey ended.

away they would go, 
and away they went.

Bio: Cassondra Windwalker is a poet, essayist, and novelist presently writing full-time from the southern Alaskan coast. Her novels and full-length poetry collections are available in bookstores and online. She enjoys interacting with readers and generally decent human beings on Twitter @WindwalkerWrite.

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