I step into a blossom weary London
looking for a path to loll on
when a neighbor stops to ask me
if the children died
with dignity and suddenly petal heavy
March is the only wreath that fits me.
All the other mothers want closure
to come via party, a garish invitation
to the cemetery, some silver balloons
to crotch the breeze while they pat dry
their hors d’oeuvres-shoved cheeks. No.
I once thought death was our chance
to be glorious, that dying was designed
to divine the precious, that ceasing
to be meant to sift through the bullshit,
but death is a fog, not a focus,
it has hands where in life only eyes
could grope us, it’s a strobe
whose flashes are built to expose us.
Why cluster around the afterlife
as if its flame shapes as it decomposes?
As if melted is the only way
to get what God owes us? If belief
is a kind of happiness, then it’s the flesh
of my children to which I’m devoted.
The peach bloom of Wendy in any August,
John and Michael thigh high in crocus:
This is prayer at its peak –
no dust-dimmed page or grave has this gate,
so forgive me if it’s my progeny
I seek, not some hearse-horny deity.
Alexa Doran is the author of the chapbook Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby (Bottlecap Press 2019), and is currently a PhD candidate at Florida State University. Her series of poems about the women of Dada, “The Octopus Breath on Her Neck,” was recently released as part of Oxidant/Engine’s BoxSet Series Vol 2. You can also look for work from Doran in recent or upcoming issues of Glass, Mud Season Review, Conduit, storySouth and Permafrost, among others. For a full list of her publications, awards, and interviews please visit her website. You can also find her on twitter @realLEXcalibur.