And my mother said that they are prayers—
sung one word at a time in sounds that whispers outroar because,
Sweetheart, you could use a few more talks with God, she says,
wondering if I'm already too far from earth.
And I lie on my mattress,
like still water,
listening to my veins and I hear
the flutter of butterfly wings after each beat.
And the doctor said that they are mistakes—soft,
wrong notes where they shouldn't be, thudding like paper drums,
confused and persistent.
I hold that stainless, sterile stethoscope,
press the cold part against my chest,
hear the echoes and think
of wooden, worn spoons in each hand, partly crushed colanders,
and dented copper pots splayed about the summer warm floor tiles,
metal sparkling like fireflies,
creation ricocheting and resonating invisibly through the house.
And she will not say anything—
her palm a small burning star against my ribs, one smooth ear held
to my chest and I can feel a corner of her lip tickle my skin as it curves up
into an even lovelier thing.
Then she will pull herself up to where she can watch the thoughts
bloom like spring clouds behind my eyes
and her mouth will settle against the edges of my lips.
Then I will translate—simply, directly, perfectly,
speaking a language as eloquent as rain,
just what it is this heart is murmuring about.