Nightly she gathered my hair under her tapered fingernails.
Freshly cleaned and oiled, every single strand bent to her will.
A court of praise bowing to her palms layering braided prayers on my head.
May she be pure, chaste, virtuous.

Daily she measured a cup of oatmeal or cereal. Usually Rice Krispies.
Pure snapped.
Chaste crackled.
Virtue popped.
Sugar rested in a dish center of the table. Never off. Never away.
Center in a perfect beige and brown Tupperware container.
Sugar ahead of me like the grains of a life she wanted so much to protect me from.
Sugar trapped in this brown thing.
Tiny particles already undetected on the table.
Her watchful eye willing to see all. And yet unable.

Weekly she drove me to a green magic carpet where all my transgressions sank into the floor through my forehead and disappeared into a mysterious basement of boys’ and mens’ ablution stations.
She pulled my scarf over my ears and tucked my earrings away with all the other precious metal.
Mettle I grew stronger under those wraps. Week in and weak out.

Monthly she supplied me.
Moonlight faithful.
Bruce and and Cybil Moonlighting.
Silver streaks of tears wiped with wet ones.
Thick slicks of a ready matrix pressed into a pad for sewage and trash.
But no not sewage or trash she said just a clean thing.
Just a cleaning thing.
Just to stay clean.
Until the next time.

Yearly she made a cake lit candles woke me early.
Shoelace candy cake with red icing balloons.
I can still feel it telling my senses how much she loved me with vanilla and smooth layers of butter cream. Light and easy to digest.
More pure and more sweet.
I her sweetheart. She my baker.
We warmed and cooled.
She cried when I moved.

My mother performed rites over me.
Wrapped me in her wishes for pure and wholesome sweet.
She ritualized this dream.
Becoming herself a distilled and extracted being.
Removed from the moments she had judged herself unworthy.
In my eyes nothing less than a full fledged queen.
And now I can only send messages on the rainbow’s wings.
Saying mom, thank you for everything. You were everything.


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