Everyone called you mother so I could call you mother

You kept herbs in bottles, rice sacks under the sink. 

You peeled the fruit and pulled each section apart so its echoes would stain your hands.

There is not a day I don’t wonder how and where you lay down; months later, I swam up to the shore, a yellow sash around my mouth.

Your face was a planet I could hear moving through the rooms, smelling of heat or soap.

Why did you teach me to take a bundle of sticks in my. hand and sweep the rainwater falling on the stoop?

Your fingers could thread needles in the dark, undo the tiniest hooks.

When the neighborhood children chanted from behind their windows, you peppered the stew and doubled the measure of sugar baked into our bread.

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