Emily Bludworth de Barrios

Emily Bludworth de Barrios

Collecting Sticks

The girls wore the names of their fathers like little necklaces

The boys wore the names of their fathers like jewels I mean like tattoos

The names of the mothers fell off

Like how a bird’s nest erodes inside months

It’s okay     Months are always making new girls

Girls make themselves into new mothers the way a bird collects sticks

The girls wear their fathers’ names and then inscribe their husbands’ names:     a tattoo of a necklace around the throat

The names of the mothers fell off

Pryor     York     Bond     Moore

There aren’t any others I know

Mama York making biscuits in her little wood-burning stove

A mother didn’t have a name to bestow

The mother an antique lullaby     A nest is only made of sticks and spit and dirt

A sweet voice breaks down into soil

Shouting into the closed-off years

Dies.     and here’s another little self

Who dies.     and pushes a piece of herself into the future

EMILY BLUDWORTH DE BARRIOS is a poet whose books and chapbooks include Women, Money, Children, Ghosts (Sixth Finch, 2016), Splendor (H_NGM_N, 2015), and Extraordinary Power (Factory Hollow Press, 2014). Recent work can be read in Iterant, Prelude, and Electric Literature. Her website is www.emilybludworthdebarrios.com.