Yes, I know my children's faces now, now
that I shrug on lithium like heavy clothes.

Once, I wore my skin
like gauze and pressed myself
into the grass not
to get beneath.
I heard the whole yard
change colors in the rain.

To relearn
that the wicks of magnolia
do not-- do not-- sing when they flare
finally into wide, white flames
has been hard.

My daughters' hair is long
and fans across their pillows.

True, there were days
I'd sit in the cane rocker
and feel the deaths of everything
I'd ever seen die--a cat,
my mother, that whole row of elms--fill
my bones with smoke
and I couldn't sleep
and I couldn't find anything.

Marisa's brows are dark and arched.
Kristina's cheeks are smooth.
(The singing of those little fires was so sweet!)
All night, I watch my daughters sleep.

--- "Monologue of One Returned" appears
in From the Bones Out