Branwen by Isobel O'Hare
His hand around your neck, mother of starlings
won’t be the last time he mutes a starling.
Because he wants to hold your neck forever
your brother, his body becomes a bridge of starlings.
Two islands perish and the silent dead rise from their soup.
Fire for your children, for starlings.
Three singing birds and the head of your husband
surveying all that he cannot throttle, all starlings.
Urns of your ashes line the banks of the Alaw
but nothing can contain you for long, each ash a starling.
Isobel O’Hare is a poet and essayist based in Taos, New Mexico. She is the author of the chapbooks Wild Materials (Zoo Cake Press, 2015) and The Garden Inside Her (Ladybox Books, 2016). Poems of hers have appeared and/or are forthcoming in anthologies from Civil Coping Mechanisms Press and Black Lawrence Press. O’Hare received her MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and she has received awards from Split This Rock and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico. Find her @isobelohare and isobelohare.com