Her hands want to pray inside the mouth
of a tiger. Her eyes want to see the shadow of a god
cast against her bedroom wall. My mother
hardly leaves her room but the rain she’s collected
is enough for her to swim in. I’ve caught her diving
into bed & splashing wildly like a summer girl.
I’ve found her weeping at the bottom of the pool
& holding her breath under heavy sheets.
Sometimes her hair is blood-moon red & even
her pill bottles seem filled with moonlight.
She’s happiest at the idea of a pilgrimage
where we finally find our childhood
buried in the sand of an endless desert.
I carry the little girl on my back
like a tireless camel & she carries
a young frightened me to her chest
singing the song of motherhood
she didn’t know the first time