Before I climb in the taxi I turn
to look one more time at my mother.
She looks much smaller, younger as she
leans in the doorway of the house,
one hand on her stomach, the other
waving me gently away. I had never
really thought much about her,
a soul that trembled above me, beside me,
ahead of me. Last night she helped me
pack away my clothes, like folding vestments
at the end of a mass. I looked at her
whole body, trying to see life without her,
her tapered fingers, her father’s lips,
the old topography of her belly where
I once lay my entire small body,
egg-curled in her palms.
Or the nights I went to her when she wept,
I climbed over her into the bed and,
without a word, drew her into my chest.
I stroked her hair, the nape of her neck
I soothed, her cheek upon my heart.
She had taught me this, this love
of the womb, and I recited it to her,
reading every inch of my life like braille.
I think of you, Mother, across a road,
leaning against a door frame, standing in
a meadow with your head tilted towards
the sun, throwing up your arms and
taking me into you, kissing my cheeks,
like blood pulsing to the heart,
root to thorn to flower.
In the car I glimpse her in the mirror,
still waving, her fingers drawing a fragile
arc as if she was guiding me back. I sit quietly,
moving out to the edge of the worldthe
edge I saw when I believed the world
to be flat, before my mother taught me it was round.