for my mother
Only dead wives buried near my mother's grave.
They huddle in the rainy season beneath
bouquets of wet carnations. No tears from the men
who come here -- just sweat and soaked coats.
That masculine musk released into the humid air
awakens my desire. I'm too aware of living, sorry
these women exchanged the company of men
for stone, smooth and hard as their husbands' backs.
The wish to disappear into the rigid creases of the spine,
behind tense muscle, below bone, granted.
I have known such pleasure, and I will grieve its loss,
imagining my mother longs for the man who filled
her breath with his. She now sleeps without my father's
song inside her mouth, her tongue a hollow print
of her lover's tongue. And my father, partnered
again -- another wife, a different song. Silence
greets him at the cemetery gate, and ushers him
to memory. I inhale his scent and try to understand
why a woman dies and in her loneliness discovers
how to stir the ghost of passion, suddenly alive
from the rigid facial tissue to the empty muscle of the foot.