She sits in stately dress; she is all White. Slur of the landscape.
In the birches’ breach, she waits: recompense for January’s deadly
beauty; rapid heart beating the downy body. Flaw
in the opal of field. Not-yet blood festival. To be as still
is to protest. Don’t go, I think, half-dozing at the window, when
she goes. Her shaming wakefulness. The poise of long feet
come to use. The adults look babyish all their lives.
It’s Nature’s trick, to feign innocence. Any intelligent thing
rejects the unhappy present. The thought of her alone would be
pretty, were she not true. And cruel as the feminine mind. Gone
the mist she releases I interpret as Mother’s hairspray.
She wears her fur, my mother. Pink-cheeked, she is
the landscape. Its cold eternal sunrise. Young and handsome
as my birth month. How rapidly we rushed toward each other
then. How we are the flaw in the other. Her blood slows
down. To be as quiet is to protest. Don’t go, I think, waving
goodbye from my car window. I go, and her waving
shames me. Though she bends, in mirror, in her sweeping,
she will always be younger than I am. It’s a mother’s trick,
to be loved as a lifelong daughter. The thought of her alone
will not do. She is pretty, and true. Any cruelty flies into wind-
borne snow. Into mist my mouth drinks now as milk.
From The Children by Paula Bohince. Used by permission of the poet and Sarabande. Copyright © 2012 by Paula Bohince.