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I love killing words.

***

MOTHER’S LIPS

.....after the tsunami in Japan

You have no father,
my mother said & wiped
my neck with a long
towel; I smelled the lavender
soap: bubbles on her
cheeks: the outline of her
lipstick: dark
purple around her lips;
they were unlike mine; I wanted
hers; I hated the garden
scent; no
lavenders please, I said;
just muddy
bodies
on blue vinyl sheets
at the flower
shop; sand & pebbles filled
my mother’s mouth; I bit
my lip: tasted blood.


***
The first draft on March 31.

MOTHER’S LIPS

When I was twelve, my grandfather took
me to a flower market. There were no
flowers, but dead bodies caked in mud
on blue vinyl sheets. I cleaned
my mother’s face with my handkerchief.

Every night, my mother boiled water
with a red kettle. A towel soaked
in the scalding basin. She wiped my neck,
cheeks, and behind my ears. She told me,
I am sorry you never knew your father.

After my bath, I sat in front of the mirror.
I touched my mouth, which is unlike
my mother’s. I grabbed her red lipstick. She
spanked my hand when she found the stained

pillow cases on the futon mattress.

My grandfather stroked my mother’s shoulders.
It was very cold and scary. Sleep peacefully...
He recited a Buddhist prayer. I found
the lipstick
in her pocket. With my finger, I drew it on her lips.

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