I first wrote this in 2005, and have been tinkering with it since then. Twelve years of contemplation yielded this final version last night (unpublished, since I rarely submit poems anymore).
My mother’s psalm
She told me despair filled the valley that night,
and so her sisters walked out, carrying anger
and anguish out of the barren land.
They packed vexation into hard dirt
with their bare feet. Secret recriminations
were brought forth and opened.
Claws were undressed.
They threw their silence to the ground
and buried it beneath the bodies
of forsaken loves: miscarriages,
abortions of justice.
Nothing hidden survived the night.
My sisters were crazed, she said.
They yelled and whipped their hair loose
and damned their bras and jobs.
No dinners were made, no houses swept.
The night was full of women and they sucked
the air right out of that hollow slit of darkness—
but there was plenty to drink.
And my mother said: yes, fill up my goblet, sister.
So they filled her mouth and mind
with passion and resolution.
They saturated the valley with righteousness.
For a full day and night, the women drank
and rinsed and spat
out the foul mess they’d been taught.
Because finally they understood.
And she told me they climbed out of that place naked,
and strode off into fertile ground together.