Last Photograph of My Mother Laughing
The one in the book after this, you’re in the Louvre, whiter
and colder than Venus. It will be winter, your hands
in veins, your lips tight as marble. But now, it is spring
in Manila, Jim Croce’s voice is wrapping against
an aging purpling sky where a seam of your hair puffs
up—, nebulous perfection. You’ve placed your hand
on your hip in young, flirtatious refusal. One wrist steels
with a watch so big, it’s halfway to falling, and your arms are
plain and hairless enough to turn into a statue’s missing
limbs. Gallery mother, swing of my heart,
you’re standing above three black-haired sisters
who as I look at you there, are dead.
The investigative report says “dark sky, calm wind”
in Louisiana when Jim gazed out the plane’s window,
morning sticky with haze. Your city aches in the corner.
And your mouth breaks so cleanly across the sky.
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