In the kitchen
my mother was dead with no religion;
she’d bumped her head and painted the floor.
Dead head red
Mother were your eyes closed or open?
Only the cat knows
as well as policemen.
Bloated bag of bones
drained and taking space in chest of drawers…
you don’t belong there but what can I do?
I’ve never been good at saving you.
You wait for the oven that will
Don’t fret mother;
your girls won’t toss the dirt on you.
We will wear your body dressed in silver
displayed ‘round our necks.
No one can hurt you now.
Not your mother or your father;
not corrupt Jehovah
who’d abandoned you at sixteen years
Mama 19 again at 24;
You weren’t perfect but you were ours
and you were beautiful even at your ugliest
because we knew you loved us
so fucking hard it hurt sometimes.
You were a glorious lioness.
A fucking alcoholic, but a lioness just the same.
And I’m so angry!
So goddamned sad!
My mother is dead. And it doesn’t matter if her eyes were closed or open.
Those eyes I’ll never see again.
Those most beautiful eyes that beheld me the day I was born.
Those eyes I’ve learned to read.
The ones I’ve loved and hated in equal turns—
sometimes green grey or blue
but always true.
The ones made dull when she bumped her head
and painted the floor.