Mother who falls
past me, who wants
what I cannot give her,
the peace I never found.
I never stopped looking
for you. In every woman.
In every day that sooner
or later let me down.
Mother of my distance
from myself, of roads
that never lead to you,
of victories I force
from each day. As if
the world’s praise
mattered. As if, along
the parade route, I
didn’t see you in every
face. Gather me round
you now, like the blanket
that slips from your
shoulder: I won’t pretend
it’s enough. Mother
of the cash transaction,
who keeps her poverty
hidden, who wants not
to be stranded on the last
page of her story,
who wants to forget.
The father.
The uncle.
Who wants God to love
her the way she once
thought a man would.