An Unseen Woman’s Scream Wakes Ghosts Near Daybreak
All the house’s Argus-eyes are open,
so that, high-pitched but breaking, it bursts in
like gale waves smashing Malta’s Azure Window
down to gravel. Hearing it, she stands,
looks out the window for the dying siren.
He rolls over, unaware as usual.
Was it real? Dawn’s near and first birds screech
what people call a song, but in it she
has always heard that whistle in her purse.
More than air she needs him to have heard it.
It’s just the birds, he says, their timbre almost
matches a scream. They want her to agree.
He makes a show of closing all the windows.
There is quiet. He is sleeping. She lies, silent,
smashing windows with her muffled cries.
A mother wanders the border
and cries ghost apples pregnant with bees.
She begins appearing in Insta-stories,
young white women smiling beside her.
They try to help her find her children
by posting images between classes.
Thousands of lawyers broadcast their desire
to represent her pro bono.
She becomes a celebrity crying on Ellen.
Her sobs both green and red.
A mayor from a neighboring state holds her hand.
Nobody asks her name.
Dozens claim they know her children.
Facebook is full of their gender-reveals.
An online conspiracy asserts she is a liberal
who has no children. If she did, where are they?
Others go further. Child-bearing is hard:
are we sure women are strong enough to do that?
One day she ups and disappears.
Of course (someone remarks) she embodied
our callous treatment of migrants.
Another, though, sees her as standing for all
women. Another for Millennials’ perpetual sorrow.
Some say she signals America’s decline. All
are inspired for change. For instance, someone
sets up an Etsy selling delicate crystal apples
filled with the goldenest honey you’ll ever taste.
Andrew is the author of the chapbook Witness Marks and has poems appearing or forthcoming in CutBank, Barrow Street, Smartish Pace, Tar River Poetry, The Moth, and RHINO, among others. He lives in Boston with his wife.