Seven Sundays, Azure Arnot
The night I was born, my mother clawed up the tiles
in the kitchen floor and buried her deciduous heart
beneath the mortar.
Concrete-stained fingertips leave her more
cement than girl:
she weaves glass and steel
into the strands of her shadow-dark hair,
building a greenhouse in her chest
that weathers centuries.
My mother presses herself between the threadbare
covers of an encyclopedia on the coldest day
of the year. Her skin crumples under the weight
of unspoken words, turning veins into valleys,
staining the pages a faded marigold.
Yesterday, the foundation of our house split
under the pressure of six thousand yellow flowers,
the sulfuric blossoms tearing drywall and hardwood into air.
Her grainy sepia eyes wilted shut,
my mother waters the bouquet of dried tulips
on the splintered dining room table. She digs
her burlap hands into the brittle earth and inhales,
catching exhausted soil and cinder-block debris
underneath her fingernails.
Rest, she says. Bloom again when you’re ready.
About the Author
Gwen Cusing · Northeastern University
Gwen Cusing is a second year Biology, Spanish, and English student at Northeastern University. “Perennials” first appeared in Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine.
About the Artist
Azure Arnot · Suny Geneseo
Azure Arnot is a maker and doer. Much of her printmaking is about the unseen meanings and creating beautiful pieces that can be both appreciated for their beauty as well as theirs second meaning. You can find her online at azurearnot.com or on Instagram at @azurearnot “Girl” first appeared in Gandy Dancer.