Drink up, I tell you. It’s only my Mum.
A cup of real woman. Dead six years,
cremated at McHoul’s on Center Street –
most of her, they tell me, filtered out
through the stack, sucked into the clouds,
blown high over goldenrod-stained fields,
drizzled into the West Branch of the Penobscot.
I might have scooped her into my palms this morning,
my tongue scrolling the water from Fish Hatchery Brook.
She tastes whole, robust, not fleshly weak
like she seemed at the kitchen table rifling romance
from the page. She flows from the tap or the sky
or a cold pocket of winter. Perhaps she’s pooled
in a cracked skull in Rwanda. My Mum, the adventuress.
For sure, not the woman of polyester pantsuits and sneakers,
fearful of the sound of her own thoughts.
Sometimes I hold this mother-as-water in my mouth,
bumping against my mercury-filled teeth
before I squirt her out between the overbite
that was hers before the false teeth, and is mine still.
I watch her fly up into the light, prismed droplets,
and laugh at her grace, her tricks.
She’s a wild one now, this mother.
My Mum is ocean and wave, hurricane and mist,
road slush and the tar-crusted rivulet
creeping down my living room wall.
She weeps into the weather. Bleeds living roots.
She heals, drowns, baptizes. She slakes and quenches.
She boogies with Che and Martin Luther and Jackie O.
My Mum is a dragon of light in the water.

FRIENDS OF ACADIA POETRY PRIZE, selected by Maine Poet Laureate Baron Wormser

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