TINGE Magazine - http://www.tingemagazine.org

Issue 9

The Mother

 · Poetry

I met Lena’s mother once,
in Lena’s kitchen in Concord.

Just shy of five feet, leaning forward with her elbows on the counter,
Lena’s mother listened as her sons bantered

with the guests, and her husband doled out bottles of water,

interjecting just once, with what
I can’t remember, in a voice that silenced the room.

.

She hardly seemed to notice me.
It was only later, once she’d found the letter

in Lena’s jeans, that I became the enemy.

.

I’ve seen her from a distance twice,
both times after an illicit rendezvous, another near miss.

I’ve studied family photos in their frames,
holding them close, finding her face.

In dreams I am running from her, hiding
in strange houses, and yet

even when I’m standing close enough to touch her,
her eyes will not land on me,

and so I have no reason to hide.

.

In the picture they posted of Lena
the night before her first surgery,

she is lying in a hospital bed in a white gown next to her mother,
facing her, kissing her shoulder,

and Lena’s mother
(a woman with a mermaid’s name)

lies flat on her back with her hand in Lena’s,
gazing at me with rage.


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