There were mornings when my mother could invent a song
pluck it, like a whole peach bobbing from a branch.
She’d fold in an improvised melody
until her voice was yoked and in unison, the quick flicks of her wrist
circumventing the rim of a wide bowl.
That sweet batter, the promise of a future us kids salivated over.
these honeyed freestyles,
each one sillier, each one dripping in distraction.
We’d sing them for hours,
long after the borrowed meal settled.
There must be a precise word
to describe the moment a child notices the shadow of her mama.
Looking back, everything was there in plain sight. I would say,
what they don’t tell you about depression is—
but that would be a lie.
I haven’t searched for much.
Some mornings I wake up
and I spend hours telling myself to get out of bed
and I cry. And I cry. And I think
my god, is this what it was?
On the other side of her locked bedroom door
my brother and I used to wait for her
we’d sit on the floor, playing Uno, telling jokes,
sailing balled-up socks in a game of floor hockey
for what could have been days.
To say, we clung to clusters of bliss
to say, a cadence or flickered recognition tunneled her way back to us
to say, these are the best ones, the goodness,
the back in the days when were little and plump with laugher
to say, there was happiness here
is to ignore some cratered truth, dimpling all that it was, all that it wasn’t.