Ma, remember how you would hold me?
It was on days just like these:
we took naps under the curtains,
dozed off sun—us steamed sweet
like overused bamboo baskets.
dozed off son: our hands
(remember, you were happy)
You would take me to the market
stringed beneath those drunken stars,
elegies of your husked breath seeding sighs
within the concrete. You remained
unspoken, but I heard how you thought back to Pa
and missed how He held us too,
musculature and all.
I think back to when I was five, how
we broke sunflower seeds
with our teeth.
I thought the chip in your smile
was a splintering—
the same bite that bit yourself raw,
but it was just your fingers
picking at it
until it eroded away
Five o’clock, five feet deep below
the rubber soles of your burdened feet.
Do you think back then, too?
It wasn’t so bad.
Look at me again, Ma—
run your hands through my hair, black,
and I’ll run
my hands down your cheek,