Everything In Her Mind Leans To Her

by Madeleine Barnes

madeleine_barnes

Your mother cannot remember you.
To her, you are an alabaster queen,
snakeskin and sundials, mineral crown.

She believes in circles, wedding bands,
orbits, covered your palace columns
in hoops and wreaths. Porcelain centaur,
ruby mermaid. Each became hers, so, yours.

When you were ailing, she
covered your eyes with
turquoise and gold, a hibiscus,
eliminating affliction with artistry.

She does not remember your face
or the curve of your iris as it meets
her eye. She cannot recall your strained
expression, or your voice as it asks for

turquoise, hibiscus, or a lovely thing of
any kind to cover you. She does not think
of you. Everything in her mind
leans to her. Holding every leaf

she will show you her kingdom
and when she can go no higher
she will tell you: this is our country,
and what pains us cannot compare

to this beautiful thing.

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