Lineage, by Meghan Sterling
Once I begged to be back in your body.
I summoned your fingers to my neck,
wrapped myself in the curl of your knucklebone.
Once, I was inside the stone of your finger
that pointed South, to the thicket of poplars and fir,
that time we tried to make a home out of scraps
of cloth, slats of wood, when even the birds fled
the chimney, when even the moths kept away
from the wool. When I was a child, I spoke
as a fly, I spoke as a seed splits for the approaching bird.
Once I wound myself around the web of your mooring,
a thread that came undone and couldn’t relearn the weave.
How I became the auxiliary to your wheel,
the brunt of your thumb’s down, the weight of your words
like a barrows. Once I learned how to look away
from what was coming, loving the shadow that fell.
Meghan Sterling’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Rattle, Rust & Moth, SWIMM, Cider Press Review, Westchester Review, and others. She is Associate Poetry Editor of the Maine Review, a Finalist in River Heron Review’s 2021 annual poetry contest, and winner of Sweet Literary's 2021 annual poetry contest. Her collection These Few Seeds is out now from Terrapin Books. Sterling is Program Director for the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and lives in Portland, Maine. Read her work at meghansterling.com.