I have given my mother’s body into others’ hands;
have trusted her unsteady gait, her porous bones,
her sleepless nights and the music she holds in her hands
to their care; have let them cut her body open
with sharpened chisels, gouges, pliers and bone hooks;
have allowed the adulteration of her human parts
with foreign material. I have left her to sleep or not
in a strange bed, to recover or not, to get up
with only those other hands at her elbow and back;
to take her first hesitant steps with only their aid.
And during this time I’ve remembered each day to bring
a bowl of food to our space beneath the house
where a feral cat has taken shelter, have called
to the cat with a word he hears as food in the bowl
but not as a name that would mean he belongs to me,
which he does not. And then I’ve gone inside
to wrap myself in a blanket and wait for a call
from a woman who’s never been my mother’s daughter.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 1.
See all items about Susanna Lang