Motherless, Eve didn’t bear her mother’s burden—
depression, paranoia, nervous breakdown,
afternoons sleeping in,
bedroom curtains pulled tight.
She was never a last child
with a single mother finding herself
while her own hormones were surging,
breasts just beginning to round.
She didn’t have to endure her mother’s obsessions—
what a stranger or daughter said
or how she looked at her
that day. Or three years ago.
Or what will happen next week.
Or men. And men. A boyfriend
or more she never liked.
Or birds. Those birds turning
into a passion childlike in purity:
brown booby sightings; owls
like the ones she sculpted in clay menageries;
hawks sailing warm-air thermals;
mourning doves, the white-ribbon
edge of their tail feathers in flight.
Eve didn’t have a mother who’d worry about
the mallard too far from water,
who knew robins have such lovely songs.
There was no bush in front
of a kitchen window.
No four blue eggs.
Eve didn’t grow up counting
the ways she didn’t want to be
like her mother.