Kate Puxley, Cambré, 2018
Charcoal on paper
2 x 1.27 m

With this, I will leave you three sick

genes splayed like fish, my epigenetic

elegies. I offer you this hollow

apology: forgive my low cortisol,

choked redbird, my crooked spine,

the rose-beaded necklace carved from

an ivory tusk. We both inherit

the spoils and shame of war,

your great-grandmother’s pale green irises,

her pearl engagement ring

dulled by dish soap

one more reason she did not surrender.

Your father, he will leave you

A marble chess board, a shotgun

with a rusted barrel, a roman nose,

a blank spot on your family tree,

a library of songs hummed perfectly

I offer you a collection of glass birds

a cracked watch I could call

“amulets against nothing,”

bejewelled wounds

instead of what they are—

weak promises I hope to break

you from this line of pain, to give

you from my body

something whole

from the family

Kate Click