Years from now,
when you live on your own,
(somewhere like Detroit or Spain) —
your father and I will come visit you.
We will stay in a hotel (definitely)
and meet you after you leave work.
I will give you a bracelet we bought you that afternoon.
You will take us to your favorite places.
Take us where you love to go, I will say.
And I will mean it.
We will truly love it because you have loved it.
I will not bring clutter to fill your apartment,
empty offerings that say,
“I don’t know who you are anymore.”
I will look through your kitchen cupboards in serene non-judgment.
We speak with your friends of your childhood.
Nothing embarrassing, no broken bones, or private jokes.
Only of the way you made me feel
when your little arms wrapped around me,
trusting in our breath.
We will visit for just the right length of time
and be helpful and enthusiastic.
I don’t want this day to come too quickly,
But when it does I will think of writing this down in the sunlight of
while you napped indoors on the big blue couch.
even within the darkness of her mother’s sheltering blood and bone,
a girl child holds within herself
all of the pearly seeds
all of the luminescence that may one day take shape
(take root, take breath, take name)
If all of the children of her future
lay silent within her
(still not a child herself)
then the echo of my daughter’s laughter
was held in my great-grandmother and in her mother before her.
If a gossamer thread runs swiftly through our wombs
past to future, future to past
then the mystery of my daughter was cradled in woman,
a mystery to me.
Who is this mother before the last mother I know?
Who is the mother of Maria?
(Mother to Pasqualina, Mother to Florinda Angela,
Mother to Linda, who was mother to me)
even within the darkness of my body,
of my sheltering blood and bone,
I hold inside myself
all the pearly seeds of memory
of the words that one day were spoken,
then the echo of my mothering voice
was held in my infancy (and the infancy of my mother before me),
in words most powerfully unspoken.
I sift through the layers,
their shadow weighing upon me,
the heaviest deeply submerged.
I must make them unbearably light and glowing,
change their weight and power,
refuse them, rename them.
Not to be used with out written permision from author. February 2006