Dia de Los Muertos
Knowing nothing of their gender,
I name them as best I can:
Jude, Sidney, Lucien.
A scattering of marigolds spill orange
over the table, where I have laid my offerings.
I remember the first baby I didnít want,
and the next two I did. Yet with each,
money was scarce, time and energy
precious commodities I could not afford.
A skeleton dressed in a maternity dress
sits on the edge of the shelf, her hair
blowing in the breeze. Next to her,
a trio of skeleton musicians
play a tune on drums, guitar and trombone.
I would have liked to be your mother
I whisper. Candles flicker and play
tricks with the shadows.
Soon the earth will pull me back
into its orbit, and I will
wearily return to the daily grind.
Still, I long for a gentle hand,
some nurse to walk in and tell me:
Here they are: your children are right here.
I hated the picture he brought home
of the woman with bulging breasts.
I ignored his lame lament
that our son had sucked all of the milk
from my breasts, diminishing their size.
But my child was nine now.
The dairy was closed.
Then one day,
I peeked in my manís drawer.
I found a pregnancy book.
He had found his milkmaid.
After I left him, my breasts began
to spout milk again, as if I were with child.
I laughed at the irony, as the milk spilled
over me. My breasts were abandoned
fountains. Arrivaderci I said, pretending
I was at the Trevi fountain in Rome.
Then I threw a coin into the bathtub,
and made a wish that I would never
return to him.
© Emily Brink
Loch Raven Review Winter 2005 Vol. I, No. 2
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