by Suzanne O'Connell
Cats slept in my cradle.
Hummingbirds flew round my eyes.
I swam directly after a meal,
ate a raw egg,
went into the cellar after a sound,
did not wear a scarf,
and mixed milk with meat.

Death is all fancy language
shaped by one’s luck.
I learned to identify folderol.
I laughed in death’s face.
Hairs on my head were
wild weeds that insisted on living,
wheat and roots,
plumb lines into my ancestry.

In the cold garden of time,
I played without a jacket,
put my hands in the dirt,
talked to strangers,
and petted chickens.
No knocking knees for me.
No advice heeded.

And when, many years hence,
the bony arm finally grasps me
by the button,
pulls me to the black cavern,
dresses me in the wrapping cloth,

the advice givers can say,
There, I told you so.

Suzanne O’Connell’s recently published work can
be found in Poet Lore, Forge, Atlanta Review,
Juked, Existere, Crack The Spine, The Louisville
Review, and Found Poetry Review. O’Connell was
nominated for a Best Of The Net Award in 2015,
and a Pushcart Prize in 2015 and 2017. Her first
poetry collection, A Prayer For Torn Stockings, was
published by Garden Oak Press in 2016.