by Riley Mayes
the important thing to know, which
I remind myself when my own birth
seems too dismal to remember,
is that it’s disintegration that arrived us.
cosmos, from the Greek kosmein, meaning
“to arrange, order” and “dispose of.” I know it
must be true, because I have watched
a mother build her nest.
that urgency, fear of scarcity with
which she harvested twigs, driftwood, bits of cloth,
twining them together into home—
this is how the skies moved once, preparing.
clusters of stars and shards of matter
built into rocks and mountains,
hot and heating spaces,
the beginning of everything was full of blood
and skies cratered with burnt oceans. so became our births,
scarring, all hips breaking, moaning—
nothing about it gentle or brief.
I suppose I was disposed of. I suppose we all
were. our mother’s skin soaked with sweat, dragging
us from her molten core.
a blue shell cracked into being.
good riddance, then, my mother’s pain
feathering bits of sky into the atmosphere,
to see me in the midmorning light,
freed from her.
Riley Mayes is a full-time student and writer living in Portland, Maine. She is interested in explorations of nature and hyperlocal geography, in her studies and in her writing. Her work has appeared in several publications, including BUST Magazine, Garfield Lake Review, Havik Las Positas Journal of the Arts, Bryant Literary Review, and Levitate Magazine.