Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2017  Vol. 16 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Derivation Devotional

I was a derivational just-mother, morpheme
of a bar-swinging chimp, roaring with quasi-

ex not-mother pride, dilation demon, newly-
reinstated child. With a hyphen, a heave,

with a heavy sigh, I unlearned every trick
since I was two, rewound my knack

for tolerating noise. When to use a hyphen,
when not? (I forgot.) Unhyphenated hydra

I had no name for, which the doctors also could
not pin—postpartum catch-all bin, a pill to keep

the hyphens still, my brain stuck good to the non-
dreaming/delusional world, but like a good plan

gone awry, it revved me up, rendered me sleepless;
I paced the house at 3:35 a.m. like waiting on a lunar

eclipse, for the moon to slowly morph to brick. She
recovered the chair; she re-covered the chair, don’t

you see? I never quite did, but the other? Okay, the springs
(unsprung? un-sprung?) re-sprang. Whichever suits your sunlit

Persephone myth, whatever your reupholstering tools had up
their wool and chenille sleeves. Like the meaning of a verb

I wasn’t sure of: re-collect, as in gathering one’s noggin’s
nuts and bolts, or recollect, memory of who I was, would re-

become. What’s a derivation anyhow, or did you mean
devotional? Re-form or reform? Either way, knew I’d been,

knew it was release and re-lease, that I’d re-vived, sturdy
as a re-stuffed couch, re-arranged and re-modeled,

rémoulade of bravery and strength, though which
it was I cannot say. There is always the danger

of confusion, always the prefix in: complete, consistent,
secure. Stability, capable, ept, and sanity, of course, all standing

on their heads. Stinging like mercurochrome on a cut: in-
competence.Left alone in her own I-am (im) balance?

To her & him an impossible re-turn some had predicted (some not).
When the Norsemen invaded, what were the words they carried

in their vetch-stacks, their piles of dry syllabic verse? What was it
they stashed in their stacks? Ado, aloft, anger, from angr, straits.

Anger straight from an angry force, as if preordained, like bear shirt,
which turned to berserk, something to do with frenzied warriors,

firing-synapse soldiers which won’t/will not subdue (sub-due?
beneath me? my dues? whose duty?). Always these intrusions,

these burning remarks, these words to whom I give too much.  

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