Mother Mirror, Mother Tongue

blue script loops & whirls 

this star-sparked

breath, an umbilicus

holding me to you, to her 

& her, back & back 

I remember myself


in an archway skip-counting 

for you, looking for the pattern

for the words that could call you

to me, the words entangled, what is 

from gdobri, good. yo ya me I & but—


m, mother, mat’, mater, madre you are always 

first, a bilabial hum before the burst

of air, the stop, the fractures, the infinitive 

of forbidden splits that come so easily 

to this language, in silence 


we trace the severed with two

fingers, what saint is this? what holiness?

and apart from us, in front of us, above us

with position and preparation, someone asks

with a borrowed voice, what 

man has come with good news?  

it is a gospel of sequence, binding us to 

in his name, whether we consent 

or not; even unseen pray

we, in the dark, our breath the only blue—


to Mary of the resurrection, 

to Katherine of the moon, each of us 

a goddess of her tongue: wordless, headless – found

millennia later, thick stone

bodies in the dirt

separate &

alone &


SHERRE VERNON is an educator, a seeker of a mystical grammar, and a 2019 recipient of the Parent-Writer Fellowship at MVICW. She has two award-winning chapbooks: Green Ink Wings (prose) and The Name is Perilous (poetry). Readers describe Sherre’s work as heartbreaking, richly layered, lyrical and intelligent. To read more of her work visit