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Red Paint

/lindsay lusby

Mother as Haunting, as Mourning Dove

My mother’s mother has the softest feathers I have ever touched: like the gray dust

of mothwing scales, marking my impious hands with ash. The brightest color she owns is

the dusk-pink of her taloned feet & toes, the bloodless blue of her closed eyelids.

Is it true her bones are hallowed? The way my mother holds her small body could make

me believe in lifeafter.

My mother looks for owls at the window, holy ghosts in

the early morning dark. But a dove at moonset sounds like this: the long & spectral O

of longing that wakes her to halflight & hoarfrost, where mother is just a psalm

we sing to the answering ether.

Lindsay Lusby is the author of the poetry collection Catechesis: a postpastoral (The University of Utah Press, 2019), winner of the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize, judged by Kimiko Hahn. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Blackbird Whitetail Redhand (Porkbelly Press, 2018) and Imago (dancing girl press, 2014), and the winner of the 2015 Fairy Tale Review Poetry Contest. Her poems have appeared most recently in Gulf Coast, The Cincinnati Review, Passages North, The Account, and North Dakota Quarterly. Her visual poems have appeared in Dream Pop Press and Duende. She is the Assistant Director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House at Washington College, where she serves as assistant editor for the Literary House Press and managing editor for Cherry Tree.


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