You went down, dragged
with eddies of dead,
foaming heads in the current
that welled like spit.
I went down,
on the trap house floors
that crumbled and caved in.
You went underground,
where triple hound maws
snapped. You spilled your blood
for their bruised tongues to lap.
I went, 90 pounds
with one clock to the jaw,
heard cockroaches in the walls
and his roommate fap.
He showed you his cock,
his sinkhole mouth,
bulge and roll scrotum
of pomegranate beads.
He showed me the jail lock,
the carnal brink
and bloodied my ass—
Our mothers don’t sleep;
who knows what they know?
When we come staggering back,
they stare, ash faced and blank.
The earth opens up like a woman, to waste.
Do they too suffer our surrender?
My mother picks scabs off her face.
We tie knots in our souls to remember.
The return is inevitable for us,
thawing through winter’s atrophy.
Pollen fails to mix with our hair’s death dust.
Mother’s leafy arms do nothing for me.
With the clotted seeds of the first dead fruit,
You descend again, stolen child, sovereign trapped.
Barefoot from the ER, I also get back,
fumble dreamily there with the needle in my lap.
Caroline Zimmer’s poetry, as well as her visual art, has appeared in The Maple Leaf Rag, Umbra and Unspoken magazine. She is a lifelong resident of the French Quarter in New Orleans, where she lives with her Doberman, Iris and her fiancé, fellow poet, David Rowe. Caroline tends bar and reads tarot cards out of her home.
Detail of The Rape of Persephone by Rupert Bunny, 1913.