Elegy, Still Under Investigation (her mother)

by Lauren Smothers

(her mother)

I’ve got this verse framed
on my desk at school—

“Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD;
for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.”

It was her favorite. Sometimes,
at night I lie awake and pretend she walks

out of the woods and into the house,
dropping her keys in the bowl

on the sideboard, trying not to wake us,
but hoping I’ll get up anyway.

But mostly
I dream she’s looking for me,

not the other way around. Everyday,
I get dozens of phone calls, emails,

texts. Even after they found her skull,
I try her number sometimes,

let it run to voicemail, hear her half-laugh
after the beep.

LAUREN SMOTHERS has an MFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She lives and teaches in Jackson, Tennessee.