The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton
You gave me a subscription to penance
even before I knew how to read.
I taught my fingers to echo in silence
so you would not wake and roar from your den.
Like origami silk, I was knotted and frayed into a deaf bird
who could not remember music or wings.
Crawling on all fours to stay below the radar,
the wedged door imploring me to run;
I needed soil between my toes - roots, then branches, then sky.
I kicked stones from my shoes as I bared my feet,
Your hands reached for amber glass,
and you shrieked, consuming its flames.
I stayed in the tree house for hours, days,
until I saw ashes drifting on wild winds
and thought it might be safe to return
to earth. Ivy grew thick on those walls,
covering the truth, hiding the life
that remained within.