I watch our neighbours dither

when meeting her at mass, in the shop,

at my father’s graveside, search their little brains

like squirrels troubling dirt, frantic for her name only

to unearth the other buried one, greedy for any acorn.

I swear I see a strange expression of delight

paw across their faces as my mother’s face stiffens.

Exhilarated by their mistake, defiant. Don’t they see

my mother? I wonder. Don’t they know she is a different woman?

They are more than just my father’s wives. Her name means pearl;

my mother’s unity. I hold an acorn in my palm,

push it through tributaries of flesh.

Scraping its pointed heart into cemetery mud,

I spell out their given names in blood.