'Ff'lo (fflo) wrote,

thanks, moireach

On the Edge

After your mother dies, you will learn to live

on the edge of life, to brace yourself

like she did, one hand on the dashboard,

the other gripping your purse while you drive

through the stop sign, shoulders tense,

eyes clamped shut, waiting for the collision

that doesn’t come. You will learn

to stay up all night knowing she’s gone,

watching the morning open
like an origami swan, the sky

a widening path, a question

you can’t answer. In prison, women

make tattoos from cigarette ash

and shampoo. It’s what they have.

Imagine the fish, gray scales

and black whiskers, growing slowly

up her back, its lips kissing her neck.

Imagine the letters of her daughter’s name

a black chain around her wrist.

What is the distance between this moment

and the last? The last visit and the next?

I want my mother back. I want

to hunt her down like the perfect gift,

the one you search for from store to store

until your feet ache, delirious with her scent.

This is the baggage of your life, a sign

of your faith, this staying awake

past exhaustion, this needle in your throat.

-- Dorianne Laux

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