My mother calls to me
with letters from the earth, from deep
inside a closet, behind curtains

that droop on hangers, dumb
with age. I turn the knob, crack
open the door, crawl

through dusty wings, layer
by layer until I see the box
that once held

my mother’s shoes,
and under the lid rest small bits
of her, cradled in ash.

I try to lift her, but
the box is too heavy. Yet,
there I am, behind me, a grown

woman who can lift
her own childhood, rest it gently
on her lap, carry herself

to a garden where children are allowed
to play with abandon;
where we kneel in grass

that stains our knees a mottled green,
dig with one spoon: me and my child-self
and my mother too,

her eyes awake, her skin no longer blue.
We pass the spoon from hand
to hand until we open

a small hole that widens like an infant’s
mouth, and there, inside we deposit
our box of ash and future.

Listen to this poem:


The Dream is About Us by Rachel Heimowitz


Photo Door ajar by Eric Milot used under Creative Commons License (BY-2.0)