The Curling Page

The mother gazes upon her daughter’s bruises

Blooddark shapes of rough preterite hands

That would brand her with their masculine proprietorship

Nine months they embraced in the potter’s wheel of her womb

A score of multifoliate years she spectated the unfolding of her daughter’s petals in the rain

What snaking paths in the fogged mountainscape of life have waylaid her?

How could the diamond mines of her affection have yielded such coal?

The nerves of her body so carefully tended over so many years

Now fraying thread to weave abrasive textiles upon a loom of pain

The matron lights her words with the sparking cables of indignity

Takes the action so long overdue, unites a mind’s warring factions under clean banners

Four decades of struggle-sculpted syllables raise a bulwark against the season’s siege

Experienced with the tempests of the world, the mother stands before its surging waves

Knowing this too shall fade into the curling pages of the book they pass from blood to blood

And madness if it comes, fear if it comes, will eventually drive their flaming cars over the cliffs of time

Leaving the two of them to gaze dispassionately down upon the smoking wreckage of the past

At the legacy every woman is destined to inherit until the human race breasts the tape

In a world of trophies and shelves

A world that atrophies faces into hard-packed shells

In the buckets where they thrash with all the other meat

In the mirrors where both minds and bodies cheat

The mother welds words into weapons of war

Fingers through her daughter’s hair a shield against the deep-seated enemy

Bivouacking in the darkness beneath her skin

The wellspring of her watering eyes

Beckon her offspring, her daughter, her prize

Like a windswept lighthouse

Letting her know she was born into the right house

That the night opens every woman’s blouse

To sacrifice their hearts to its dark arts

And the world that would break them

Will itself one day be hurled down

On the jagged rocks of time