solid and strong as rock,
supple as roses,
I remember you when old, eighty and ninety.
I missed your violent tempers,
your passionate dancing.
I see you stand in your warm kitchen
green with geraniums,
your arms, fleshy then, always baking and scrubbing,
yet you still had a box of beads, amber and jet,
that gave back your salt-sweet smell
from their nest in the bureau drawer.
I cannot remember your voice,
only your hands, and your eyes
smiling at me from old photographs
or the oven of my dreams.
What happened to make the women
who came after you
touchy as hot-house plants,
fragile as greenhouses?
Yet they too have survived, as women do,
and I dig my air-roots into your firm flesh
as I did when eight, burrowing for a kiss,
and stare at the calendar in your kitchen,
moon-shaped signs dating back
five thousand years – or even more –
and wish I too might flower and bear fruit
From Water Children (Mini Mocho Press, 2002)