My legs are my mother’s legs and her mother’s before her, on and on down the line until it stops, I imagine, at the bank of a river somewhere, the grasses clinging to the calves like children held by this nameless woman I can only call Her. Vaguely related to me, she is somewhere in Germany or France, wherever my mother’s people are from. And if you could see her sadness and if that sadness were catching, it might be stuck inside the worn fibers of her mind, the thing she was trying to get rid of with the washing, the heaviness in her hands like stones at the throat of her longing. How did I get here, she’d say. Where am I going? But then it’d be too late and the seeds of her unease would be lodged in the next woman’s heart, undetected perhaps until she tried to fall asleep that very night and could only see a terrible darkness at her window, where for years it had cocooned her like a child. This night would come as a surprise she didn’t want or ask for, and on and on it would go until no woman or child within the sharp radius of her need could be found without this deep ache inside them, this thread of memory, spooling out like bright lines of salmon spawning upstream, each one reflecting stones, starlike on the surface of her mind before settling in a soft pile of silt and sand below.
Andrea says, I was also thinking dulcimer, or even the keytar or base guitar, but I like the fluidity of the steel guitar so much!
In our dream band, on pedal steel guitar:
Andrea Deeken is the author of the chapbook, Mother Kingdom. Her writing has appeared in Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Beyond Queer Words, The Blue Mountain Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Valley Voices, and elsewhere. Awards include an Honorable Mention in the 2019 Spoon River Poetry Review Editors’ Prize Contest; second place in the 2020 Blue Mountain Review LGBTQ Chapbook Contest, and first place in the 2021 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition. Her debut chapbook was a finalist in the Poetry: Chapbook category of the 2022 International Book Awards. A former book editor, she has worked for the Multnomah County Library for fifteen years. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her wife and daughter.