That night at the hospital, as I watched my mother
sleep, I remembered summer, the day
I talked her into taking two buses
to the movies. She had complained
about the thickness of her sturdy arms
exposed by the sleeveless rose dress,
Easter lilies on the gathered skirt,
bell-shaped petals diagonal on the bodice.
Her face, darker than toasted almonds,
was wet at the temples as she carried steak
and kalalou. I panted uphill beside her
with a sack of cold melon and rice.
Perhaps she was dreaming of my wedding
in her yard, a christening under the calabash
when she woke the last time, agitated,
tearing at her gown. I wiped her forehead,
helped her sit. She leaned on me, a little,
her head below my breasts, above my navel,
the same space I favored on her body,
half-awake those winter mornings when
she braided my hair before traveling to a factory
in black boots warmed under the radiator
which sounded like the last notes of calypso
playing on a steel drum when it worked.