They linger on inside hollow hills,
until songs bring them back,
flames open the way for the soul mothers,
the old mothers, the long-dead mothers
to find form and come forth.
When I am gone, let them take me,
paint me red for the blood tides,
first blood, earth blood, birth blood,
last blood. Stretch the skin tight,
and sound it, a horse to ride to freedom.
The land does not forget, the people
hold stories, the wind sings of wild ice
and pine needles placed around the head.
When I am gone, nest me back
into the forest, with an antler
wind me out over the tundra
and cast me to the stars.
The beginning is in the ending,
the whole is in the breaking.
Let the dead come, and remember,
warm themselves beside the embers.
Ali Jones is a teacher and mother of three. Her work has appeared in Fire, Poetry Rivals, Strange Poetry, Ink Sweat and Tears, Snakeskin Poetry, Atrium, Mother’s Milk Books, Breastfeeding Matters, Breastfeeding Today and Green Parent magazine. She has also written for The Guardian. Her pamphlets Heartwood and Omega are forthcoming with Indigo Dreams Press in 2018.