The other night some poet asked if I had a favorite flower.

My sister was the first to say,
It won’t happen like in a movie.
Except, when it does.

Mom was standing in her bathroom
I made blue-grey eye contact with her reflection
She leaned over the sink and coughed up blood and Chekhov’s gun
This was act one.

Before a diagnosis
Before grief and all it’s stages
Remind me,
Which part includes writing poems?
That ‘s the one I’m in.

I come from a long line of women who have gone sighing towards their destruction.

I’ve just gone writing towards mine.
I like to think of youth like rising action.

I was six, in my Omama’s home,
peeking in her bedroom
She was naked from the shower,
Clasping the handle of her tall armoire
Leaned her head against the drawer
And, wept.
I understood, and didn’t
Precisely what this meant.
Because,
Sometimes it does.

While Omama was dying we would visit,
Pick hibiscus from the garden
Leave them on her bed.
They aren’t much for an arrangement
They close up with the sunset.
This seems appropriate in retrospect.

When Omama went my mother said,
When I ran my fingers through her hair
it came out in fistfuls.
She was so scared.

She bought me books
I read of Sadako,
The girl who fought and died anyway.

When the doctors told my mother
I started folding cranes.
Gave up a few hundred in,
but in a moment of despair I will begin to fold again.
Never sure what I will wish for.
Though I can guess that I will love them,
And 1000 cranes won’t be enough.

I’ve been fighting with my dead mother.
The worst part is, she’s winning.
Always knew I couldn’t stand the silent treatment.

I can’t believe she’s not here, to hear.
To witness.
I am the only art project she ever finished.
I am the left-handed conclusion of all her smudged ink.
I am imprecise and covered in paint.
I am so angry. She left.
She left me to patch the bullet holes from her second act.
She went out with a bang,
Actually,
She went out with a gasp
The last thing she said went something like,
“What’s happening?”
Or
“What’s going on?”
The memory is poorly recorded.
When I ran my fingers through her hair
The stories came out in fistfuls.
She was so scared.


I’ve worked so hard to learn to live without her
That I’ve learned to live without affection.
Spend my evenings with men who know only of my body
Its empty spaces, its caverns.
He instructed me,
Bend over and grab your ankles.
He eyed my knees from every possible angle
Took him three morning-afters to notice the surgery scars.
(to ask if this was why I walk on my toes)

He assumed I took milk in my coffee
He’d drink too much wine and say,
Your skin looks like it was poured on.
There’s no use crying over spilled woman.

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