Alise Versella

Celtic Knot Ceremony Pantoum

Consider the knots that nature forms in bark and those humans tie
Believing that they’re in love, that their bonds are strong and unbreakable
When even the oak trunk can fracture: roots unbound from the ground, with the strike of lightning
What made you think your ropes would hold me?
I believed I was in love, that our bonds were strong and unbreakable
But even children and their mothers come untethered; the doula severs the umbilical cord
What made you think your ropes would hold me?
They say wherever a Navajo buries his umbilical cord is his home
But we have come untethered; the doula severed the umbilical cord
We are waterlogged in Lafayette Cemetery, displaced from the ground
You buried us somewhere I can no longer call home
Home is gone
A waterlogged cemetery, my body displaced from the ground
Remains of us floating like dead fish to the top, silver bellied
Home is gone
My wrists are scarred from breaking free of your ropes
All that remains, dead fish, silver bellied
You did not consider the knots
My wrists breaking free from your ropes
Your oak tree has fractured; she unbound her roots from the ground. Didn’t you see the lightning?

© Alise Versella

Alise Versella is a Pushcart-nominated contributing writer for Rebelle Society whose work has also been published in  Elephant Journal, Ultraviolet Tribe, Umbrella Factory Magazine, What Rough Beast, Steam Ticket, Visitant, and Wrath-Bearing Tree, among others. She has recently published a poetry collection When Wolves Become Birds (Golden Dragonfly Press) and was nominated for Sundress Pub’s 2021 Best of the Net award.

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