Mother, I Climbed by Melissa Chappell

I am a daughter of Goshen.

I wander often

into the brute night,

with some

sickle-tongued man

who can thrust the 

sun into my womb and

taste my mouth like the

sweetest clementine.

Yet after the sweltering,

bitter battle,

I am abandoned 

behind a 

dollar beer parlor,

putrid with the

odor of sex and death,

a robin’s egg on 

an anvil,

a hapless creature,

caught beneath

the harrow.

O Mother,

I climbed

the surly mountain,

and I have found there

nothing or no one to 

whom I would give my life.

Where was prophet, priest,

and king?

Where was Mother Mary?

The sun was setting

in my hollow stomach.

The moon sailed aloft

on my rising rage.

There was nothing holy,

and if there were,

might I grind it in the dirt

with my bloodied heel.

O Mother, I climbed

to understand,

and understood nothing.

And Goshen is so far.

Melissa A. Chappell is a native of South Carolina. She is the author of  five books, among them, Light, Refracted (Finishing Line Press, 2019) and For the Next Earth (Wipf and Stock, 2021). She is also published in a variety of journals, such as Blazevox, Amethyst Review, and Adelaide Literary Review.

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