Mother’s Teeth; Shopping List

Mother’s Teeth

In the prairie across from
My mother’s apartment,
We find, in the moonlight,
Bones, laying humble 
On the black ground,
More ash than dirt,
From the controlled burn
The firemen had to set.
Glowing white,
An opossum's fleshless smile.
We ask the prairie
If we can take it home,
And she says nothing.

We carry the bones through the switchgrass,
Where we hear an animal dying.
It wails loudly,
And then it is done.
Like a warning,
Come too late.

The next morning,
My mother tells me she was visited
In her dreams
By a monster that
Stretched its great mouth
And crushed her inside it.

To return the bones,
She must walk back through the prairie,
Where the big bluestem grass once,
A hundred years ago,
Inspired the Nanabozho spirit to say,
“All powers have two sides
The power to create
And the power to destroy.”

The prairie is bordered
By that belt of corn,
That fills a million American bellies,
On one side.
On the other,
A parking lot.

It is through here,
That she must leave.
To go home.
Where she may rest and put her feet up.
And try not to wonder why
Mother Nature might have wanted her teeth back.
Shopping List

There is so much to be had.
Every shape imaginable
Ceaselessly marched before us
In plastic.

There are so many cures 
To that wily, wandering, wary
Insatiable feeling 
That I do not have the right thing.

So impotent am I
Before the holy advertisement
That supersedes the sunset
That becomes a kind of god
That offers me exclusive salvation.

Behind the billboard
The sun is sliding towards the horizon
Like a bird encountering a clean window
Falling, unnoticed, unseen,
Perhaps even scoffed at.

The sun which holds nothing,
That old, forgotten, once worshiped thing,
Gives everything.

In just a moment,
The sun will shine through the crack in the billboard
And it will remind me
That there is nothing 
In the entire world
So noble
As being empty handed. 


Maggie Traxler-Lavengood is a student at Fordham University in New York studying Film and Digital Media. This is a debut publication.