Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Tropical March

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When I see my mother --
the pale chipped walls,
the hospital bed
a loose shroud,

I cannot help but search for
the warm flower petals,
the sweet humidity:
the woman she was.

But the stale anesthetics push stench,
and the sharp blade of her shoulder,
a guillotine sharpening its blade
across my neck, once hers

a specimen jar on the bed table
reaches for my blood,
and our neck, a ladle, scoops
red clots between drooling
sharpness of thin teeth
already slick with green phlegm.

I think: I want to inhale her.
Suck her through my nose nipple first.

But then she tells me not to cry,
"I'm being silly."
So I force down the quickness
of short breaths,
and we talk about my becoming
a mother.

Kim Gek Lin Short‘s work has most recently appeared in Fence, can we have our ball back, and The Big Ugly Review, and is forthcoming in Pool and Crab Orchard Review. She lives with her husband and daughter in Philadelphia, where she is completing her novel, “China Cowboy,” and a book of poetry.

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