It’s the way it bends when breathing I think
and the way it flexes
metallic and pristine and contorts
a grin, landsliding, buried
beneath some powerless skin.
We are not a flaky family really.
My mother cowers often
and retreats well. The arms
of her chair have like yeast risen
and hold her hefty weight.
From far away, one might think she was beautiful
but up close we know her well
and we know the infinite spread of her sweater
over her effortless neck
and the pulsing of her face
behind the tv. When sleeping
it is the noiselessness
that makes us love her.
And she knows well about death and dying
since at her mother’s funeral
she wore blue and yawned and whispered
to me to unbutton the top one,
now. Her mother wore
a black turtleneck from Sear’s while it snowed.
The pound of a rancid fist against a bone through wool
does not bring you to a shrink’s office,
lay you across the floor
and check for lumps in your sanity though
the mumps and metaphors of your neck curling
downward and spreading
a slow stream safely across
to your shoulder is enough.
It is a tiny torture for us uppity grandaughters.
Careful now and cover
because I can’t promise not to stare.