April you break my bones.You sucker punch me right in the side of the head.If there was a mountain in my backyard I would find you therestaring down with a twisted mouth as you hurl lightning bolts, or bouldersthat you have hoisted above your head.
Instead, on my flat green acres, you lay low,Army crawling on your belly with a knife clutched in one hand,moving through the lilies that are just starting to bloom.You curl into the dark bottom of a watering canand wait for my wrist to appear above it, or build a nestin the chicken coop and swarm my face and armswhen I swing the door.
I’ve grown to know you.Fake beauty, pretender, liar.Thief.I’ve figured you out.When you spread your armsto cast a soft light and scent the night that surrounds boysstepping towards girls in gowns and wrist corsagesyou lick your lips at the thought of twisted metal andwheels that keep spinning long after the car has stopped moving.When you roll water down the river and spark light across the backsof silver fish, when you warm the rocks for long legs to spread out on,I know that you are waiting for footholds to give wayfor ankles and limbs to get tangled in underwater vines. For us to go under.
April you crush my skull.Outside my window the sky is as blueas the eyes of my dead son.A row of blooming cherry trees line the split rail fence.Night peepers sing to me.My baby still cries for me.The sun warms my face as I walk the long yardhands folded behind me,heart folded inside me.
April you gut meyou and all your awful beauty.
Elizabeth Berry lives on a small farm in Partlow, Virginia, with her husband and teenage daughter. Preferring the company of animals to people, she spends most of her free time with her four dogs, and colony of feral cats. She also frequently sits and brushes the hair of a tamed skunk named Jon Snow. She writes poems about loss and survival, and how often the two exist as ghosts in ordinary lives.
BMP Celebrates National Poetry Month
If “love calls us to the things of this world,” then poetry too can call us to think about challenging questions, difficult situations, and social justice, implicating and engaging the reader with the world we live in, in the hope that this engagement is a step toward wrestling with our better selves.