MY MOTHER AT 22
by Amy Schrader

    How unlike my father to take her photograph
    this way: like a ripe peach tugged from a tree,
    his steps quiet on the garden path, a silent pose
    behind her like a thief. Her body: a long, low smile

    in the hammock, sleeping in a private patch
    of sun, or just awake. Her face is turned
    away, gold hair unwound and wound about
    her nape. Shirt folded gently up, one hand

    strokes her bare belly: the round melon swell
    that is me. Perhaps she was dreaming just now,
    of the African veldt and a lioness,
    a throaty afternoon among the insects;

    of a starfish slowly breathing blue. Or perhaps
    she was not asleep, but reading through
    a Victorian book of violent love among the heather.
    And now she remembers a beautiful brown-eyed boy

    who loved her, and how she broke his heart.
    Her lips are parted slightly as if she wants
    to sneeze, or blow a kiss, or taste the giant heat
    of the buzzing cicada summer air.






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