My mother is an architect, spending
days on end slumped over papers bustling
with cities upon cities of pure geometry. Lines

giving birth to a quiet stretch of road: Tangent,
mom would begin to explain; I would nod off, disinterested
as a child is. Concerned in the furniture,

the graceful arc of the armrest, the sweet,
aging varnish of the Narra; never the hands
that risked callous and bruise to form them.

Never the blueprints mother made,
now dusty and yellowing, serving the function
of placemats as she makes a phonecall,

inquiring of a doctor who might be willing
to cure her disease. That small lump
on the snug hill of her shoulder. Schwannoma,

it was called and I knew it meant
that there was some fault in the construction
of my mother’s body. Her arm, risking paralysis

upon operation. This is why no good doctor wants
to cure her; Too much of a risk, I hear
as my mother twirls her fingers, traces an old building

in her crisp drawings. I imagine us living
in a house of infinite doors; we would be safe:
granted distance; doorways
away from the sound of closing.


Slow Bloom

Maybe I was lying
all along, letting everyone know
how it was grandmother
who (with the exquisite manner of her passing

and every disquieting thing that followed:
my aunts eating kalachuchi
from sidewalks, grandfather growing
older than time allowed – forgetting

our names too easily, transforming
half his bathroom into a botanical museum
where I see ants tread on pots, patient
in their motions.) caused me to run, turn

to pen and paper, believing once again
in the necessity of fictions.
I think it was mother who was the root
of all this: how she loathed flowers,

because they reminded her too much of the past,
of father; how now, roses are the only things
we dare buy, and only to lay them down
as offerings on grandmother’s grave

(where the grass grows thick and alive
from everything dead beneath it). Always I recall
that memory: the sound of mother crying
for her own mother, two years ago, cramped

in our tiny car, heading to the hospital
to visit grandmother, give her disease a reason
to delay taking what it came for. A bouquet
of pink roses at hand, only to find out how quickly

time passes and now Lola is gone –
I wish I were lying.
How slowness is a quality
no one ever wishes to inherit – but always we praise it
in the patient bloom of flowers.

Taking a break from the space and stars. Let’s talk about flowers and Mother’s day. Happy, happy for all your mothers. Living or dead.

My mother is angry again

My mother is angry again. She’s shouting
Stop it, stupid child! calling me names,

bringing up all the bad things I’ve done – losing
my slippers when I was five, slapping my sister

when I was ten, buying her the wrong ice cream
just a few hours ago – all because I asked

to borrow the car for Wednesday
and my younger sister also wants the car,

except I asked for it first, and so
because I asked first, I am to blame.

Yes, I am to blame. Not my mother.
She’s always been like this: angry for reasons

I never ask anymore. My mother: shouting
until I feel her voice grow sharp hands,

holding me by the neck. I know it will only take
a little more time before she realizes

what is really causing the noise, then she will ask me
to turn up the volume of the television.