A Mother’s Goodbye

SM Stubbs

Take these skins, take this rabbit,
take this sackful of seed. Here:
a string of beads and bones for sewing.
Be watchful of whatever speaks
with its teeth and loves with its claws.
This tree and that tree are alike and
you may eat the fruit either bears.
Take this clump of sod to plant
outside your shelter so home
may follow you. Hold this pebble
under your tongue as you traverse
across the waste. Here’s a sharp
shard of marble you can strap
to a stick for building or self-defense.
When you meet a man with many wives
never stay for dinner. When the earth
opens beneath your feet remember
the people you once called yours.
We will sing of you and make
the story of your death
a verse in our endless melody.



SM Stubbs helps run a bar in Brooklyn. He is the recipient of a scholarship to Bread Loaf Writers Conference and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets. Winner of the 2019 Rose Warner Poetry Prize from The Freshwater Review, he was also the runner-up in both the Atticus Review Poetry Contest 2019 and the Cagibi 2019 Macaron Prize. His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, The Normal School, Puerto del Sol, The Pinch, Cherry Tree, Carolina Quarterly, The Bookends Review, among others, with work forthcoming in Iron Horse Literary Review and New Ohio Review.