“Mouth Quill” by Kaja Weeks, the title poem from the book, Mouth Quill: Poems with Ancestral Roots, released in Sept, 2020 by The Poetry Box, has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize.
Please enjoy the poem, and feel free to leave a comment.
At home, my stroke-assaulted mother,
you startle and confound me.
On my childhood bed
we eye each other.
Metallic sounds ring from your mouth.
Wailing not at gods, but from some crucible of the gods.
From those Northlands winds blow low and rise, they ripen.
Your incantation pelts the room, the color of blue sorrow—
one river, two rivers, three rivers, more . . .
My voice fails. I fear to go there and utter nothing.
I offer recorded purity, nuns singing 9th century Christian chant:
Gloria, laus, et honor tibi sit. Rex Christe, Redemptor.
Isn’t this your God?
No! You smack the music device
and, though words have eluded you for months,
deep-throated, you decree, “This is false death!”
and renew your endless spell.
We are so far from singing together.
I don’t know how to join you: my mouth quill has stilled.
Oh, Mesi Marja-memmekene, Honey Mama-berry,
Emakene hellekene, my Mother my dear.
Äiu, äiu, äiu, once you charmed me to slumber
on silken nets in this space of braided hair.