At nine we heard from him — 
I told her we were gonna get it  
 when she said, I want to see my family, 
 you’re not better than me,
Was it worth it?
  voice hoarse, short of breath
 I fucking told you we were gonna get it

At noon I send my mother to her room
 she was staring down at the tiles
 I could see her chest rise 
Just moments before I was crying,
 blaming her like I do, like a stupid child

So I tell her how to breathe, and how many times
I tell her to breathe from her head down her spine
And at five I remember I’m the oldest daughter
I remember that my mother’s headache 
means I’m making dinner

I take out seven finger bowls
 I write their names; I pop out zinc and vitamin d
I will care-take you all before anything  
 when I go I will take you all with me 

But I dropped the honey jar and it split 
 and the honey stopped the shatter 
 and the shards stuck up in amber
My mother and I got on our knees 
It doesn’t matter, she said, it doesn’t matter 

Now all I hear is my sister’s laughter 
 and the wind gone up to thirty miles an hour, 
 thrashing at the doors 
 and my blessing sister’s breath, 
 hallow in the darkness

Tomorrow we’re gonna wake up 
 and compare our throats for dryness,
 for what we taste and don’t taste, 
 and our shoulders for their soreness
Tomorrow we’re gonna wake up
 and feel his pulse, her forehead,
I’m going to take a breath 
 and count how long I hold it

Leave a Reply