by Britny Cordera
Art: "Hatch" by Constance SHERESE, 2017
REVISION OF GENESIS
––for my mound-building ancestors
When the mound people crawl out of their ancestor's bones
they don't cry, they know no sin. But my mother, who wants
to be saved from her own reflection,
& beliefs will return to the waters of the Red River regardless
of where she thinks she's from, says we are born
sinners because we are born unhappy,
thanks to Eve.
As a child, I remembered why we cry when ripped
from the womb, why some of us choose not to scream
for breath in the beginning, but return to
Corn Mother instead.
We forget a kind of crawling out of copper-clay burials
& the sun can't keep track of all his sons & daughters
if daylight does not touch
our feet first.
Instead, the Word whispers Let there be light.
Fluorescent lights meet our green eyes not yet ready
to know a world. Too early we learn
to lose ourselves
in bright places. Imagine this first pain for an infant
trapped nine months in a buffalo sack of darkness & silence––
like the moment morning jolts you
awake & consciousness
returns too fast, before it sees the dream has vanished.
The body cries a little to make sure the breath
didn’t drift any deeper
into the grave. Then, this eventual
elusion of salience. Perhaps someone somewhere
keeps us in a sealed glass jar, a terrarium by the window
waiting to be knocked off by a cat,
moonless as night.
It doesn't matter which bird. From fragile bone, the bare chick's
soft tufts grow from its back become robes of flight & it's pinyon
has forgotten why this nervous flier. Trapped as a book mark in a
notebook, a feather fallen from kings of sky breathes in & out with
my own breath as if conducive to giving into it's own death with wind,
or happily prostrating itself to the rhythm of its purpose. I beg a you
to sit & watch the feathers fall from the prison of my black cat's mouth,
watch me turn the feathers, your keepsakes, star buttons, & charms into a
gris-gris bag & stuff it in a lucky doll because all things have better
meaning when stitched with red yarn & the secrets of cowrie shells .
Art: "Duo" by Constance SHERESE, 2015
Cordera is a two-year Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. She is a proud woman of color and Louisiana Creole poet, descending from African, Indigenous, and French/Spanish ancestors. Starting Fall 2018, she will be an MFA candidate at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.