My Mother’s Bones

by Laurie Byro
Desert Moon Review
Honorable Mention, December 2007
Judged by E. Ethelbert Miller


When I crawled through my mother’s bones
I’d like to say, they were bent over me

like birches, that the tips of her pelvis-march
scraped against me in that narrow place.

But babies aren’t made this way. Beauty is messy;
the dark box I return to just before I wake

is a field with a thatched cupboard, every kind of leaf
as if she collected me among these pressed wax

paper plates. I’d seen tall, holy trees in Muir Forest
and me on my swaying stem, a Lady’s orchid,

her newest treasure, swaddled and given
up to her in a room with open windows. Crushed

yellow and scarlet autumn hands reached in
and settled on our laboring bed. Rust ripped the sheets,

they’d call me an autumn flower. Candles sputtered
and grew down, white and pure and healing.

Each relative and ghost was there. She cradles me.
She holds my soul over a flame. This life is messy,

Mother. I carry your bones in a paper sack
like a picnic lunch. When I release us

to the air we tumble like acrobats, blister
the hardened earth with our fall.



  • December 2020 Winners

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      Avaricious
      by Judy Kaber
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      Second Place

      To James Bulger, aged 2, murdered February 1993
      by two boys aged 10 in Liverpool, England
      by Christopher T. George
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      Third Place

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      by Jim Fowler
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      Second Place

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      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

      Third Place

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      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block