Poetry by Emily Ransdell
After the plane rose from the tarmac,
I sat in coach with a drink. I saw rivers
grow small beneath us, bright sparks
of broken-topped cottonwood,
Oregon’s immense oceans of green.
I didn’t think of my mother’s coffin
resting in cargo or worry about her makeup,
whether the lipstick and picture I sent
had been of any use.
We crossed the ragged spine of the Rockies,
engines droning in the headwinds like the heart
of a weary white bird. The Great Plains
splayed open, empty pages unwritten. I ordered
What is heaven to the unbeliever?
Where is my mother now?
I was so eager to bury my childhood.
She was a bitter woman.
I was glad she was gone.
How can I admit I see her everywhere:
sunglint on auburn hair,
my daughter’s heart-shaped face,
the identical silhouettes of our hands.
Emily Ransdell lives in Camas, Washington. Her poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, The Timberline Review, and elsewhere. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Emily has been runner-up in Prime Number Magazine‘s single-poem contest and was a Finalist for the 2016 Rattle Poetry Award.