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because i am too much of a coward,
this is “mother” for mother, by the one who dares call herself daughter

: an apology and a note of gratitude

fingers graced by the smell of knowledge and
selfless blood against translucent grains,
rice fields are toiled with gritted teeth and
soft hairs gently caress a neat grid. my forearms
are stained with overlapping letters,
.38 tip piercing the woven paper of her
giving hands with cursive of pretence –
sporadic stabs into the language
i can only dare to fumble with.

the same hands clasping in loyal prayer
eyelids gently melded in promise
to an almighty power that i cannot
dare to believe in.
lips carefully weave protection around children
and clothe them in the warmth of her breath.
my fingers clench tight around hers, unwittingly pierce needles
backwards into the centre of cotton palms.

my mother is daughter;
even over seas, bridges
and constant water-treading can love;
send love in words and hugs and
earnest wishes – everything that i can never
dare to do, save hiding behind convoluted
sentences broken into crumbling bread,
the kind i have been too distracted to bake.

my mother is mother;
the bedside consolation, struggle
to stay awake while daughter
drones. she is the hand
that holds the husband, the ear abused,
the toes treaded over, a tiny frame that holds
the most amongst uncaring giants. i am the mouth
attacking the fingers on the end of the spoon that feeds me,
the tongue that seems never to care – or dare – enough
to say

thank you.


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