The Things We Inherit

Blog 7 Amy

Image: Amy 

Little stomach bobs up and down
while mommy lays on her side
Her little one nurses peacefully beside her

I remember Mommy herself
who held the mommy before me now
in a queen size bed
She reached for Mommy’s
breast in the dark
warm and safe

Secrets passed between them
through Baby’s memory
and held no words
but breaths and hands

so that this mommy now knows to
keep her baby
 close to her
breast in the dark

warm and safe

These memories end on a whisper

I           the other daughter
trudge 1 mile to the train station
and 1 mile back
in a work skirt
trying to avert male attention
everywhere I go

How unnerving was life for
Mommy at 15-years-old
alone beautiful nymph
when we were nothing but her shy eggs
waiting to be exhumed

Mommy had walked 2 miles unafraid
on a hot and humid day
from a quaint train station
to her mother’s house
in La Union

No one had come to meet her

She had tied her hair back
wrapped in a simple summer dress
in her brown sandals
with a small suitcase in her right hand
or left

How difficult those goodbyes must have been
when summers finally came to their close
and Mommy had to return to Manila
without her adoptive mother
the one who delivered her
with her own hands
and breath

She walked back to the train station
and so I walk while

people are ridiculous to ask me
whether I need a ride
when I can very well
walk the distance –

Are we her?

Reincarnated beings of perfect
Unafraid of walking alone

Some things we (must) do alone 

like marvel at high ceilings
of Jerónimos Monastery
my breath taken away
while sitting for hours
without interruption
without husband

or travel with 3 small children
and a pregnant belly full of future
on a plane across the Atlantic
a Moses leading her children
in an Exodus
without husband

Mommy’s muscles now pulse
inside our arms and legs

our eyes dark pensive and wild

unaware of our fairy wings
and sweet ambrosia blood
flowing viscous and free

Secrets pass between us
mother-daughter
sister-sister
daughter-child

some secrets told
some secrets untold

passed through memory
and hold no words
but breaths and hands

Blog 7 The Things We Inherit Mommy
Mommy at 15-years-old, 1959
Categories PoetryTags , ,

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