By Deenah Jacques
She screams, her throat turns ripe and red
her mother’s body lowered into ground.
A woman rushes to her,
“It’s okay, It’s okay” grasping shoulders, her
words flocking in the air, like dazed starlings.
I look over to this scene
from a distance
dirt shuffling around feet, flowers
placed on a coffin
teetering on the harness
that squared hole so perfectly crafted for her.
My mom and I share a look of contempt
hands grazing one another
tears welling down
identical pairs of eyes.
Her mother will never
see her walk the aisle,
put on her dress,
cry as her baby leaves the nest, cradling her own.
She will never know
grand children or great-grandchildren
never feel her mother’s hand
combing through her hair
never hear her melodic voice
smell the spices, cooking in the kitchen,
watch rice and beans boiling, smoke flowing through the rooftop.
taste the shredded coconut and caramel cookies,
so often made on a sunny day
with a firm kiss planted on her cheek.
I wish for the girl who cries,
who feels feel the pain and anguish that grief bestows on us
like a blanket given to a sleepy child.
Think back on the times that you spent with her
big smiles bouncing off one another,
crying over past memories
and the ones that will never come.
The hopes that burst out of her
irradiated you with blessings
bestowed on you like a nicely-wrapped gift.
Know that she is watching over you.
I hope you always feel
the warmth you shared from her motherly embrace
hear her words echo through your tiniest membranes
smell that strong, never-ending aroma of lilacs
that followed her every step like a teetering toddler.
Staring at this girl, crying at her mother’s funeral,
I imagine my life without a comforting smile,
hearty laughs, and gentle strokes of care.
As I look at my own mother,
hands clenching one another,
“It’s not okay.”