Blood on Blood

by Joy Boothe

Too often my thoughts stray to the past
They leave me frenzied and straining
Brain cells spark and rattle
Like sharp rocks in a tumbler
Refusing to be polished smooth

How to break away from your brown eyes mother
Your eyes locked into mine
As you slid down the wall dying
Six bullets silencing your heart

How long can one gaze last?

I tried growing a mermaid’s tail to navigate the deep
Without sinking under the stories
Of our two raped lives
But the memory of dancing
Always woke me

Mother, now, at last
I carry you inside me
All the way to the ocean’s wreck strewn floor

In the ink black night I step into the mystery and scream
Releasing us into the warm belly of Ix-Chel…

Jaguars come


Out of my eyes

Joy Boothe lives in Yancey County. Her work has appeared in The Great Smokies Review and Fresh Magazine. Her story, “Fifty Cents,” was a finalist in a GlimmerTrain competition.

About Blood on Blood — “Blood on Blood” was first titled “Avoiding the Freak Show.” I named it that because of years of struggle to stay grounded after my parents’ deaths. The poem gushed out of me after a night dive in the waters off Cozumel, Mexico.