WALKING TO THE DEEP END
In her peignoir with Belgian lace, ragged
and torn at the hem, Mother sits alone
in our back yard. Hair caught in her woven
rattan chair, she stares at her crescent-shaped
garden and points where I must shovel
to plant her favorite roses: Etoile
de Holland, dark, crimson and thorny;
Cecil Bruner, pale yellow, fragrant,
thickly petaled. Mother sips Darjeeling,
wipes tea leaves and sweat from her lips,
bites melba toast. She rarely moves or speaks.
I change into my swimsuit, walk barefoot
in the heat over the tar-bubbling road
to the public pool, buy candy for lunch.
In the sun, I lie down on cement,
skin drying and cracked. My mildewed
braids, seldom washed or combed, begin
to smell. Walking to the deep end,
I dive in, hold my breath, and explode
just under the surface, as if I could break
through, darkly fragrant, with a gasp for air.
fiction poetry "fact" photography