Sitting With My Mother

 

In the early morning rise,

my mother and I

take a ride

to the hospital

where I was born

and she has her

dialysis treatments.

Her feet,

wrinkled and bruised,

exhausted

are raised

on a leather pedestal.

 

They remind me

of Grandma’s

heavy black nylons

that pooled around

her ankles

as she prayed

the rosary at night

in the gentle sway

of her rocking chair,

praying through the days

and all the

joyful,

luminous,

sorrowful,

glorious mysteries,

the standing

required for raising

thirteen children

on platefuls

of morning quesitos,

revoltillos,

bowls of crema

and loaves

of pan de aqua,

three hours

of washing, ironing

and folding their vestidos,

the lunches of

mofongo, and pasteles,

the dinners of

asopao de gandules,

the culling of coins

from a big crystal bowl

to buy dulces

at Carmen’s bodega

just down the block

on Fulton and Seventh.

 

My mother only had four children,

three boys and a girl,

and just like abuela,

she nourished

them the same way—

standing long and hard

until her feet gave out

and her blood wore down,

in the days before

the seams of myself

unraveled in black threads

and dispersed in tears

to every corner.

 

In the dreams

for the reality

that never occurred

I would

massage her feet,

put the richest nard

generously on them

like the chastised Mary

did for Jesus,

bandage them in flesh.

 

The little memories

are unremembered

to the world

except for

the faithful sons

and daughters

who recall only

the clinking of

thirty shiny silver pieces

placed silently

into their open palms,

betraying the reality

with the buffing of memory

into better hopes and dreams,

a poetry

of bruised feet,

blood,

the scent

of good Boricua cuisine,

the silent

watching 

mother

asleep.