Walking the ocean with my mother she’s every age
she’s ever been. My shoulder cupped in the shadow
of her shoulder nested against heaving shoulders
of the sea. All of us breathing, all of us threaded by salt.
My lover and I decide to parent a dog. Continent
of paddling fur, clawed toe on my knee, hospitality
of eyes that say more. We used to be two shoulders
brushing, now more. Love smells of earth, dander
and rain. At night I write letters to my grandmother’s
brother. Dear Mendi, my thoughts become fingers
yellowed hands one hundred years old. Mendi
of the boats, needle threading island to island
I know you, my eyebrows grow closer together on
the wet bridge between bedroom and cousin. Mendi
of the boats that left Europe. My lover and I visit
my grandmother, sit biceps touching as she asks
about Russia in Spanish. Asks them cuantos idiomas?
Asks us how many beds do you sleep in? We don’t lie
and we don’t tell the truth, we just give her our eyes.
My mother reminds me every visit, Don’t tell her.
Mendi of the traveling forearms, Mendi of sand, long buried
north of Jerusalem. Mendi have you seen, in these countries
the cities are too far away from the sea, granddaughters an ocean
apart from their mothers of course they would wind up in bed
with more breasts. Surely a creature with no language
can more easily love me. A skull mossed over with
black and white spots, ducking into my crotch
as an act of affection. Beside a small lapping
beast, I know I am a beast, hot curve of her belly
leaning into my thigh. I push my face into her
Mónica Gomery is the author of Here is the Night and the Night on the Road (Cooper Dillon Books, 2018), and the chapbook Of Darkness and Tumbling (YesYes Books, 2017). She is the winner of the 2020 Minola Review Poetry Contest, and has been a nominee for Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net. Her poetry can be found most recently as a Poetry Foundation Poem of The Day, and forthcoming in Foglifter and Black Warrior Review. Read more at www.monicagomerywriting.com.