My mother traveled long to mother me:
through her small life with no doll or braids,
She’d hang her sock on Christmas eve,
but wake to motherless mornings,
father’s drunk tirades.
How did she know that ribbon streaming hair
and daisy chains were made for little girls?
How did she know to waken us with song,
and make our yard a fairy world?
When she would take the sheets
down from the line,
I’d watch her smell the windy cotton sails,
And from her gaze, I knew that sea and sky
were tethered to each breath
that she inhaled.
She sings to me—through half a life unsung:
I am her song, a voice at last set free.
In rain and snow and kiss, come home,
My mother mothers my own son through me.
Selection from GOOD-BYE TO WHITE KNIGHTS and other moving vehicles—II. Coming to Herself.