We carry our dead with us:
I my mother in spinal notches,
buttocks' knots, father
in the gristle-power of wings,
to fly as far as may be
from their eastward gaze to empire.
Urgent, I beat it to the west,
to the place where earth delivers
fire, water, healing, words.

Here I carry them on gristly wings,
turn my birthed face to them
in the passage way.
Here, in the darkest cave,
is footfall for my stormed birth.

We are a triple spiral, though I deny it;
two behind, one forward, and twisting.
These two bore me, I bear them over the dry dust
between Mourne granite and Wicklow quartz.
I go to earth also under the tight corbels.

We each carve out our grain of shining mica
or dull sand, each chisel the twist of future foot,
landfall of other resting wings, becoming,
through grit, sand, or spinal bone,
spirited children in the sunless air.

©Alison Leonard