My mama was like a vampire squid
who uses fine-haired filaments
to browse on marine snow,
Breakfast lit on by long fingers
and scooped onto her tongue.
She always stood. She had no plate of her own.
I’d leave her some phytoplankton,
bite-sized, briny, crunchy.
Each morning, my arms were rivers running toward her.
Her arms were a cat’s cradle I’d have put to sea in.
When she smiled, I smiled,
then the whole house pulsed
with our skip-to-the-kitchen laughter.
One day he knocked
and she became a parcel of tendon and spewing ink,
whiplash collision. I screamed and banged my spoon.
Saw through the door a man as blue
as Picasso’s old guitarist on the wall.
Felt her voice body to my limbs.
Stared at the snow wasteland of the ceiling,
until she whirled back through the door,
heaving roomfuls of air, and lifted me.
‘He thought he could cock his ears and whisk his tail
and I’d come running.
Well, I wrung that thought right out of him.’
I gave her the full loaf of my love, stroked tendrils, crooned.
Fingers in my mouth, and every breakfast, the blue guitarist.