Demeter Explains Her Sorrow

When you first disappeared, I wept into my hands
and drowned. I swept our house clean and scoured its walls
with my own screaming. Suffering
the sun’s silence, I said nothing, cut
out my tongue and buried it among the lilacs. I watered
my garden of stones until, strand by strand,
I began to tear each hair from my head
to weave a noose. Oh sorrow, sorrow,
buried by my heart, do you know how long
I carried that small bird in my cupped palms?

Winner of the 2011 Nebraska Book Award for Poetry for her debut collection, Cradling Monsoons, Sarah McKinstry-Brown studied poetry at the University of Nebraska under Missouri’s Poet Laureate, William Trowbridge. She’s been published everywhere from West Virginia’s standardized tests to literary journals such as Ruminate and Briar Cliff Review. A Teaching Artist for the Lied Center for Performing Arts, McKinstry-Brown has taught performing and writing workshops in libraries, lockdown facilities, colleges, universities, and assisted living facilities, in the Southwest, the Midwest, and beyond. She lives and writes in Omaha with her husband and their two beautiful, feisty daughters.