I am here before the nurse brings my mother breakfast.
I study her body. Try to remember if I ever caught my mother
in the dream I had the night before where the hem of her
gown flew through a silver tunnel without end. Her skin
went right through my hands whenever I was close enough
to save her. She slipped through her name, her name I could not stop
calling until I sat up alone in my crib. Embarrassed, she tells me
she remembers how she phoned me last night to let me know
she was in the morgue. She laughs as the nurse, whose feet squeak
in Minnie Mouse Crocs, arrives with tea. We watch the nurse
with eyes that will never remember her face. Thank her
for the toast that is thicker than my mother’s hand.
That morphine is some powerful shit, my mother says.
I agree with her as though she has merely mentioned it is cold
outside though I have rarely had morphine &
have never made courtesy calls from a morgue. It was late
& I didn’t know where I was, she says. Because that wasn’t death,
which means I couldn’t have called you from that place.
This is my new mother, who has finally admitted fear
into the raw ward of her heart. This is my mother who flew away
from my grasp in the tunnel without end. The woman
who could not wait for me to grab the white edge
of where she was going. I was afraid, she says. Looking
over the rim of her plastic cup, she shakes the world. Chipped
ice between us. Yeah don’t go & write about me like that,
she says. I already know you.