Sestina for Mothers

by: Viktorsha Uliyanova

They will grab your tiny fists, but find nothing.
You’ve dreamt of darkness once before, girls
Bathing in the shallow water of your sea,
The sea of their mothers, they are born
Like this. With hollow hands.
With mouth like yours. With legs the color of the moon.
I’ve watched you grow so slowly, tauntingly like the earth inside that moon.

You’ve vomited chunks of birds, and soil. I still heard nothing.
I waited. Then I took hatchets and carved these hands
To hold you. I wrote you lullabies. Listen to the silent twirl of sirens, of the girls,
It is all here. There’s nothing to hide but the death. Death of moss, death of water, are the same as their birth
Black line in the sand. Black line in the earth. Black line across my body and across the body of the sea

Irretrievably vanished. Gone for all the eyes to see,
They imprinted, across the shadow of my stomach’s moon.
The sea will not be born and you are me. You will become me. Become nothing
But the salt in the gushing horizon. The wind of breath in girls’
Milky nightgowns. The mirror image of turquoise in my hands.

I let the sun press into you, as it hands
Its hideous length to my body that I can no longer see.
In stitches, I stitch the praised fabrics that the girls
Before me opened. They labeled it grass of the moon
Rising in blackened light. Rising in waves, rising up to grow, you will become nothing
But a ghost. A wave afraid to be born

In a circle of my own unwilling birth
And death. And all the flowers, and your hands
Are lost. Everything is black. Everything has grown to nothing.
Stretched with darkness and darkness of the sea
Crests. The body is changing with the moon,

And the hole grows bigger in the girls’
side. And You and I. We are gliding sea-creatures. We are not the saffron girls.
We won’t stand in a circle. We won’t cross in black upon their black births,
And worse than black. Your hands
Disappear like smoke on splintered cliffs, terribly breaking inside the shadows of my sea.
I have lost the earth, the water. All is black. Everything has grown to nothing.