Bury by Krysten Hill


Women in my family
do not trust their dead to plots
and cherry wood coffins.
They play them
on the inside of their eyes
when they pray.

Projectors run
their memories
in blind, white light.
Spirits fall out
their mouths
in scriptures.
It’s hard to tell
who’s speaking.

They keep them
in glass jewelry boxes
that stay locked
on coffee tables.
Frame photos of open caskets
and call them
Mother and Father.
Wear their second sight to bed.
Converse at 3am.
Call this counsel.

What the women
in my family
do with the dead
is their business.
My aunt married a corpse
who built coffins in my heart.
Told me I didn’t want
his dead man sadness.
Sometimes, caught him,
with white marble eyes
he let me borrow
from time to time.

The women in my family
give the dead
to their daughters.
My mama gave me
her dead mother’s name.
I’ve drowned
in her dresses,
tried on her smile.
My mama is looking
for some stronger
woman in my eyes.

I don’t tell her
that Grandmother
comes to me in dreams.
Grants me time
in the garden
of my childhood.
Collects fears that slip
from my eyes.
They’re withered peach pits
when they fall
into her waiting apron.

She shows me a place
to bury them,
near a dogwood
where I buried
my baby teeth.
She promises
they’ll come back
as something I can eat,
a fruit so plump
it will feed me
a lifetime.
We stare at the disturbed
earth and wait.
I wake before the harvest,
the squirm of trees rising
in my stomach.




Krysten Hill is a third year MFA student at UMass Boston from Kansas City, Missouri. She received her BFA in Creative Writing from Stephens College where she became involved in Women’s Studies and activism. Her greatest desire is to form a collective of women poets who travel around teaching the power of voice to the girls on front porches who wonder what that aching in their chests is all about.

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