p
o
e
m
s

I’ve always preferred Cain.

His angry
loneliness, his
lack of his mother’s
love, his Christian
sarcasm: “Am I
my brother’s keeper?”
asks his brother’s murderer.

Aren’t we indeed
the keepers of our dead?

Let me start again:

I prefer apples that roll
far from the tree.

Dry like a twig
is umbilical cord, tucked between legs.

How did they cut it, Cain? With

a stone?

Under Criminal Record
write, “Mother, home.”
Under Weapon
write, “Mother, home.”

Valzhyna Mort’s new book of poetry, Music for the Dead and Resurrected, comes out this month from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Born in Minsk, Belarus, she teaches at Cornell University and writes in English and Belarusian.

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