A dusting of snow on the leaves
of grandmother’s Japanese maple.
We find a spider frozen in its web:
red leaves strung by silver thread.
Grandfather holds the Christmas wafer
above his dinner plate. Nativity in wheat:
evening light on the Holy Family gleams,
bloodless. Beneath a pale star, a mother
kneels in adoration, beams of starlight
cutting through clasped hands. She is
as cold as the word that we withhold
until it shimmers in our dreams.
Bread of the beating heart,
cast your shadow on our meal.
Grandfather breaks the face of the mother.
I eat her mouth; she is moondust on the tongue.
Always the shuffle of footsteps from
the other side. Stooped over the kitchen
counter, grandfather pares celery
into moth’s wings. I am pressing
my hand to glass. A draft of wind tosses
celery into the air. In the door frame,
cold hair tethers the darkness curled around
her. She steps inside and begins to thaw,
her cheeks incarnadine.
Mother, your palms
are cut like mine. On Christmas morning I wake
in the Green Chapel, having dreamt my skin
is tinged purple with the sunspots on your cheek.
Rachel Walker is a poet from Maryland. She currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she is an MFA candidate at UNLV. Her work has previously appeared in The Shore, Thimble Literary Magazine, and Mud Season Review.
The Ekphrastic Review
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