Five Years
By: JPC/www.nonseqs.wordpress.com

I could not say that her skin was porcelain.
Rather, like bean sprouts—the way
it would bloat sometimes in tears or
wither and brown without enough
love. In February, I noticed how it seemed
to condense; it was cold out
and everything dripped in rainwater.
Her sobbing relieved so much strength
she could not help but sweat. I saw it
seep through her yuzu pores, matting her
mustard seed hair. I kissed, only once,
her hands to ease her crying. It did not.
I remember only her hands
so scentless they reminded me
of steam. The fear came over me in the morning:
I would find her dead– slain
from heartache or some other
purposelessness. I thought she had no bone
to bear it. But perhaps her skin was more
like porcelain, her hair only matted
with rain, her hands the scent of dry
granite. I know less of my mother now
than I did before. Maybe she has life
the length of the dusted Grapevine I put
between us.

What inspired you to write this poem:

-I worked as a waitress for a few years through high school, college and post-grad. One of my employers had me working 8 hour shifts, so as you can imagine, there were long hours of absolutely no business. I took to smelling and staring at everything in the restaurant to pass the time. This poem was inspired not by my mother, but by the distinct surroundings of this particular restaurant.

Something for the audience to take away from your work:

-I struggle to describe our moments of estrangement, abandonment, and solitude through poetry.