After I was born, my mother courted bridges,
wrapped her legs around their guardrails.
The witches came, and told her crystals
were good for replacing what children took.
I found an egg of rose-kissed quartz
among the naked branches of her favorite tree.
Like dragon’s skin, it burned cold
into my twisted bark-less fingers. I waited
to hear the hum of lace wings, the clicks
of a spine unfurling, of golden talons
scratching from inside the blushing crystal.
The cicadas cried, their skeletons abandoned
to waste away in the highest boughs.
My mother scattered broken seashells at the roots;
they glowed in the growing darkness,
pale white and jagged, like crushed teeth.