The words feel fake in my mouth, she says,
after telling us her mother died in her arms.
I stroked her until she was cold.
I do not know what to do with such a confession,
or how to hold a knife when it is given to me.
I only rub her hand until it’s warm again.
She is something beautiful, something defiant –
like a vein of lightning across the cheek of a blue sky.
Her edges are not serrated, but softened,
like the place where a wall meets a wall
and becomes a ceiling.
The words feel fake in her mouth, but in the air
they collect like dust particles caught
in a beam of sunlight.
And what else can you say? –
when the sun rises and the clock opens its arms wide
while your mother dies in yours.
She is something bold, something unflinching –
reaching out to hold the hand that hit her.
Life, I’ve learned, will kiss you one moment
and kick you the next.
She never kicks back.
I quite love her for it.
Yes, her words feel fake in her mouth, but in my ear
they grow full and heavy and real.
Like something alive, flailing in the dust.
Like a flute that is hollow
until it is filled with sound.