Another Equinox


find a day you think is


                        a Solstice

                        an Equinox

                        a funeral

and go to the water

            when the glint of her color that day

            fills your eyes

remove your shoes

step into the


            the Vortex of Mom

fill your lungs and




wherever you are

Feed All the Birds

            others will come,

            the desperate and the lame

they too have mitochondrial memory.

listen beyond your eyes

            to their two notes descending

            their testimony of loss

Feed All the Birds

            and  witness the rare

                        the intersection

                                    of lives in this moment

                                                this one

                                                this one

one day, a single Sandhill Crane will allow

            himself your proximity

            his orange gaze

            meets yours

                        offer him seeds

                        and step away

            in a basket nearby is his wife

                        the mother of his children

                        who is silent at the edge of listening.

over days of years,

            their echo rises to the horizon

            including those of hers upon

            finding their babies dead

            her cry a core of grief

            unmistakable in any language


they too have mitochondrial memory


and one June

            just standing

            at an intersection of equal grace

            will be the surviving child

            shown to you

            because that child is yours too

                        theirs and yours

in now            in memory      in now



the trick is to coexist

            to own your body

            the actions of your hands

one morning, the lizard watches you

            beyond your eyes

            is his subsonic song

            his posture of courtship

            two notes

keep yourself still

            just breathe

            count if you must these moments

            memories of now

                        ours in the mitochondrial

                        in the Vortex of Mom



the trick is to coexist

            and by this

            we witness

critical data


in the land of death

there are no birds

            perhaps a lone dove

                        escaped from a wedding

                        perches on a wire –

                        the garrote of the ecosystem –

quietly cooing two plaintive notes

            echoed in the mitochondrial memory

            by whales as the arctic burns

            by all that dies in the fires of the amazon

            by all that dies

            in the Vortex of Mom


winged sister

winged witness

                        who tries to coexist

                        to learn our tricks

                                    of where we leave food

we shall feed you

            and share pride in your new ducks

we witness your two notes

            your core of all language

            your feathers at our feet

                        each a touch of the surf, sun, sand, salt

echoing our eternal memory

in the Vortex of Mom



Su Zi

Su Zi is a 2023 Zoeglossia Fellow. She has been writing life-long, with publications in poetry, fiction, essay and interview/essay form, both in literary periodicals and special interest publications for equestrian life. She's a maker of art in a variety of forms, including painting, printmaking, artistbooks, and pottery, and publisher of an artist-made, eco-feminist, chapbook series called Red Mare. Her latest book is from Hysterical Books.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 21:44