Opal, Opal, Opal and White Milk
- for my mother

Servility is sterile -
the harsh after smell of used needles and too much perfume,

a post-partum plague, a fantastical rhyming,
slavishly obtrusive – never

she tell me
let them see the whites of your eyes

or the milky moonlit fog of your
sour expression, administering

obsequious flattery, like a stranger
temping a stray cat with cream, but

the cat stays away, senses already heighted
by characteristic harm, and

the sore raw from too much
gnawing, the constant mew

of broken down machinery.
The only real victim is time.

The enemy of my enemy
is stillmy enemy,

no matter how many teeth marks
separate me from them;

the poem is customary for slaves,
hired hands, and crying daughters.

The milk is an imitation of mother,
a poor substitute for the long dried

breast, the bones as brittle and cold
as an empty cup,

the enemy is reckless, devouring
gossip and innuendo in fistfuls

and lusty gulps, the same butter
lathered onto a similar wound.

We do not stop to check
ourselves, teeth barred, the

sparring of moment with past -
I tell myself that to win

is to conquer, and to conquer is
to command, and in the dark

blue night with its honey colored
already renamed stars reincarnated

with the stretch of your wet tongue
against a dry lip,

to command is to control, ration
out motherhood with the stirring

of harpsichord and melodic screaming.
In leaving

the telling and retelling, the story
of it grandiose, legendary,

time is not my mother, but
I will sacrifice everything -

rip the skin from my bones,
drape it over you, cut my

voice free from my throat,
lay it before you

the milk still hot inside me,
still connected, still locked

into gazing at opal eyes,
opal, opal

opal – the curse of time,
give myself up for you,

go home, she says
and get some sleep.

a/n: written for the September WCC – links in my profile.