my mother’s face is a calla lily, blooming

my mother’s face is a calla lily, blooming
against sunshine. her heart a thick / molasses dripping
off a spoon into her children’s waiting
mouths / the treacle of her / lives behind my ears, in the backs
of mine and my brother’s throats. to be loved
by her is to know the difference between confectioner’s
sugar and the raw kind / that marshmallow
makes the best fondant / that faith can be small as a singular
mustard seed, suspended in a halo
of translucent oil, worn on a silver chain around one’s neck / she weeps
for willow trees / wishes her ashes to grow
among their roots / to permeate the bottom of the grandest
Canyon / to return to foam inside crests
of the atlantic’s waves. i wish her to know her own sweetness—
ghostly memories of her hands pulling my hair into braids /
her fingernails soft against my scalp / melody of scissors
cutting strands. i was born with my father’s
hair—thin and fine—how i have wished
for my mother’s. wild, unkempt, beautiful. when i was a child it remained
loose down her back. great river of charcoal / unyielding
surge of keratin, honeyed beneath sunlight

as the calla lily is surrendered to its own yellow /
its stem strong and thick, unwieldy.


what thickness lies between us / what love resides
in the syrup of her heart