Single Mother Invention
I thought the highway went on forever.
From our balcony, my mother sussed out
the divot of park, our modern tenements,
and even, in clear skies, the office
where she filed and refiled her days past triplicate.
And times when we couldn’t even spring
for RC or Life she watched me as I tried
to dab lime juice into tap water. No, like this
she said and knew a tack: to cup the glass
and shake until the acrid kick was softened.
Set back in the vice grip of my palm
I tilted and cleared it. My fingerprints
on the glass like adornments fleshing out
the sides of an ancient beaker of fired clay,
the way they were used for drinking too,
but also to decorate the tombs of men
who’d been buried beside their weapons.