I was raised to obedience & never forgot the habit.
High in the avocado orchard, my body looks for direction.
Your hands within the dark wrinkle of my hair.
The earth smelling of oranges. This grace I’ll call
my will. What testimony you brave is just
dropped fruit fermenting below a skew
of wasps. For me, I love the limbs
beneath. The negotiation.
When I bent before my mother’s
carved feet, ants moved eagerly on the stone,
feasting on their dead. Something moved me
to take her face in my hands & kiss
her immaculate mouth. Like any daughter
I drank her. There is no love between stones.
And I would kiss her again. An ant likes
the taste of kin. I do not mind my own sweetness.
The tiny drawers of myself hollow with love.
Husks of dried wasps drifting in the heat.
I say Father, Father. Obediently I cover
the streaming eyes. The sting & sting.

Emily Vizzo is a writer, editor and educator whose work has appeared in FIELD, Blackbird, jubilat, North American Review, The Los Angeles Times, Next American City, and other publications. Her essay, "A Personal History of Dirt," was honored as a notable essay in Best American Essays 2013, and she was selected for inclusion within Best New Poets 2015. Her chapbook, GIANTESS, is forthcoming in 2018 from YesYes Books. www.emilyvizzo.com