Then in the speckled dark, I stood in the sea wash.
A ghost voice like a vast exhalation
wailed from your grave, Father,
and it caught in my mouth — my mouth
so like yours, our mouths two singers.
I will live in your mouth, you said,
and I said yes. Then something pried my mouth open
and held it wide, the latch in my throat
at last undone. All our struggles fugued with love
poured forth, and I shook with it, the breaking
waves of it, moan of fog horn
groaning in my chest —
fierce lullaby, requiem, hymn.
Patricia Zylius is the author of the chapbook Once a Vibrant Field. Her poems have appeared in California Quarterly, SWWIM, Journal of Radical Wonder, Plant-Human Quarterly, Catamaran Literary Reader, Crosswinds, Body, Passager, Sequestrum, Book of Matches, Juniper, Ellipsis, Natural Bridge, and other journals, and on the Women’s Voices for Change website. Her poems are also included in Welcome to the Resistance: Poetry as Protest, In Plein Air, and Women Artists Datebook.
Artwork: John William Waterhouse, Miranda – The Tempest, 1916