A Poet Steals my Grandfather’s Skull's image
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A Poet Steals my Grandfather’s Skull

ELEANOR HOOKERELEANOR HOOKER June 16, 2020
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I open my eyes to find myself 

returned. But for the mildewed moon, 

the forest is concealed beneath a callous sky.


I discover what remains of him in a clearing. 

She has exhumed him and taken his skull.

My Grandfather’s ribs lie on the earth, 

a latticework of hoops and stringers —

the bones of a Currach once covered in animal hide,

cured in oak-bark and tar — a hull that ferried him 

through eighty years and now laid bare.


She uses clay to reconstruct his face

in her family’s likeness, making him her lie —

his aquamarine eyes no longer carry the sea, 

his smile no longer his. She whispers her alibi 

into his left ear and a swarm of flies emerges from the other.


I long to steal him back, return him to his grave

but the trees say, first unearth the self she has buried. 

They say, follow silence with silence, name all terrors hers.


Nearby,I find a woman naked and expectant, tethered

to a sudden storm. I lie down beside her, my doppelgänger.

We are dragged along the forest floor for years.

When the storm ceases only I remain; a woman made 

of words is easily erased, but not before she is read raw. 


I carry my dead baby to the clearing. 

She’s there still, there are other graves to rob —

my Grandfather long abandoned for her latest incarnation. 

When she attempts to take my baby, I become a lioness — 

she will not put a new face on my child.

Whenever she opens her mouth, words that escape

are familiar phrases, all our murdered darlings.

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