Monday, January 14, 2019
And when her front teeth died,
and the enamel turned black,
I was sure the culprit was coal,
that my mother snacked on rocks,
the way I, out of boredom,
would sometimes eat grass,
chomp on dirt she’d later
wipe off, asking what, if anything,
was going through my head.
I wonder what went through hers
when we crossed the bridge,
ambled like fugitives into
her home country, moved past
the row of toothless women
staring up, rattling severed milk jugs
and cans, and begging, in a Spanish
no one cared to understand,
for anything but a stare,
for more than just that pity
I gave my mother when she laughed,
talked with her mouth half-full,
or when, on nights she couldn’t chew,
she’d pour ice cream in a bowl,
slurp the only sweetness
that could heal. 
Monday, January 14, 2019