Ceremony is god
and god

is this birdless song
of feathers in a cat’s mouth.

By god, a mother
can get so high remembering,
can plummet listening

can growl for more or

dreamily in three


In her hemorrhaging, ceremony.

In a morphine stupor a mother
can see god

with his bucket catching each
leak and splash
as science

like a gunned down horse
limps toward


A mother sees cats—
orange and white—
William James and Molly Brown.

If ever angels, these,
bearing down upon her shoulders—

their hands then

of slowness
of breath.


How a mother knows force from false
like the back of her hand

but scenes from the a priori still seem god lit

and relief can flood a body under a sheet

bring a body back
from the white.


How frailty once meant holding
patterns in

bruised love.

How frailty’s now
this gift of spilt

in the new mother’s
nearness to

suddenly, the ceiling.

How without warning

frailty’s new, too,

upon real want.


Want is god.

A mother’s arms, bound by drug,
leave all embraces
to her eyes

which shut on tears,
open on hours

of pain, prayer.


Brooklyn Copeland (© 2013)