(In Memory of my Mother)
With memories too large to contain,
the woods a refuge
Blooming with wild red Poppy Seeds,
a world of imaginative solitude
where nobody can hurt her.
My mother calls,
her voice begins at the diaphragm,
small knots expend up her torso,
floating apprehensively toward her throat,
lodged in her mouth with a jaw too rigid to release its sounds.
“What’s wrong, Ima?”
“The doctor said,” she begins,
walking in slow moving sentences
on roads she once tore with wild haste.
Stepping off the edge,
I’m lost to a time long gone,
risking floods rushing to destroy.
On a sunlit afternoon,
our shadows behind us,
My hand lodged in hers
move together like flowers in the wind.
My mother would point here and there:
“See the sycamore tree? You’ll grow to be as strong.”
Her voice speaking in tones of fresh cut grass.
My eyes would fill with possibilities,
mountains alight within my vision of the future,
I’m a Chinese swordswoman,
my chest expands to receive.
Her hand squeezes mine,
Bloodline would flow with rushes of womanhood warmth.
Meadows stretch before us with endless urging.
But it was not so,
not the way I wished, anyway.
In the valley between my mother’s thick silence,
Between wishes of my childhood,
Large as a universe
opened a red gap to the past,
Separated us by several continents,
We became divided entities,
Dislocated at the center,
Like the indented swings of my mother’s moods,
Hard to reach,
Restlessly on the move,
a boiling mass of bubbles
Giddy with movement.
Bound and gagged by need,
never having enough of her,
red ribbons in my hair,
Ears strained to the broken voice.
In my mother’s eyes red veins stretched,
Thin ropes looped over a past filled with death,
I lost my mother before birth.
Twilight descends upon the day,
Erods sharply drawn lines of battle,
Our shadows precede us,
Mine larger than life.
“The doctor said,” she says,
Voice paid in helplessness,
heavy with tears.
Both feeling an insistent neediness
Jangling beneath the surface of our lives.
Hands grip; Love pouring from my fingers.
“That’s okay, Ima,”
Voice burdened with history.
“I’ll nurture you, hold your fears in my hands,
Lean on me, lean.
I’m the trunk.
You are me.”