They say she was woken too early one morning
& walked herself out to the marine fogged field
in her bathrobe & bare feet. They say she stepped
straight up to the electro-net fence where
on the other side the rude rooster racketed
& they say she—wrapped in wrinkles & baby blue
—bent her creaky elbows back like wings
arched her old & aching spine & released her own cackling crow
which they say roused the whole village from their sleep.
They say she didn't stop howling for some time
but when she did they say it was without fanfare
or even a word. & they say she left right then—
went to the mountains or some place quiet so
she could sleep in peace. & when months later she returned
they say she resumed her simple life
smiling, no mention of that morning
nor the span of silence since; the rooster they say
long dead by then.
The day before your father died
you stacked syrup-slathered pancakes
tall, til the tower tilted far
over a moat of bacon and butter
which rung the plate like protection
for a war we weren't going to wage.
We’d willingly lower that drawbridge
—welcome his death with decadence.
He'd already made his choice and we
only had to surrender to it
like butter gives itself to batter
or warm bread. In the morning
the fat relaxed back into the pan
as we reheated what remained.
We sat in the sun and savored such sweetness
as is served only with a side of sorrow. Then
he drank his promised poison like a king
relinquishing his throne, white flag waving
bravely, and when it was my turn to climb
the tower to where he'd fallen asleep forever
I found his lumpy body limp and barely
breathing, stacked on itself, tall, tilted
bridge-like, spanning the pool of love
the others’ bodies, melting, made.
It’s been almost a year. I know
because the daffodils are blooming again.
I can’t stay long so I cut some to take—
their severed ends dripping like your mouth did
when you died. Your son wiped it from your face
with his bare hand like it was nothing like he
later wiped me from his life. I only came back
for the flowers. Put the stems in a bottle brimming
which overflowed and fell like the dead
dried petals still littering our abandoned altar.
There is intimacy in the stories we share
but nothing can spare us our loneliness. The daffodils
oozed sticky strands of pus from their dying mouths
stringing down from my shaking hand and stretching
back toward the earth, like his hand stretched
sweetly for your ceraceous face, like mine still
reaches for him, for you, for this sacred and
Alex C. Eisenberg is a child of the western high desert and the pacific northwest rainforest, with ancestral ties to Eastern Europe. Her soul is rooted in these wonderful landscapes and her writing springs forth from that connection. Alex currently lives by candlelight with her partner, their beloved cats, and their flock of misfit chickens in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains. To read more of her work, follow @alexceisenberg on Twitter or visit alexandriaceisenberg.wordpress.com