Calling My Mothers In the Apocalypse

I did not know that          trees die root first–
stem pinching to light leaf while the reach beneath
crumbling dirt clenches in to
suck from whatever life it has left,             the plums fell to my feet
before I had the forethought to pick them.

The ground crumbles from the weight of sandhills
and I slowly lose hold of the things       I didn’t know I loved.

When all the women in my family left                 I lost belly laughter,
asking for seconds,
and moving as a pack at night.

I didn’t notice until my laughing sounded more
like expelling rotten air
to swallow something just to keep me upright                 for the day
to night–
                      day to night,
                                      day to night,
rocking to the count of my singular steps.
skipping over potholes         soft edged with beams–
pink light streams from
the Earth’s center because she
is living too.

I call up all my mothers                   while clutching a darkening plum
and say– she is my mother too.
I’m cutting away the caved in edges
browned and beat soft
to pick out a pit I could plant for another chance,
swallowed whole in my stomach in hopes it takes root there.

                                        I am just looking for anther chance.

— Demree McGhee (from