I think of my ability to say—
to articulate—sounds you no longer hear: this world is not
so easy to speak in without you. Moth – er & daugh – ter
my lips touch to meet, to make a sound impermanent to me in this world.
Your voice once would have called: tongue curled back
behind your two front teeth, touching the tip of roughness worn
from the crushed needles of a Yew tree. Sounds articulated and of
the living world again;
I imagine our conversations: how I say mor – te is no longer
every day until my tongue tip meets
the smoothed back of my front two teeth
and language rolls open; a mouthful again:
Moth – er & daugh – ter.
I told my students how after you had died
my sister and I uncovered your drawer full of buttons,
all meticulously labeled with each threaded form’s
corresponding color and latest fashion. Style
was something you carried as a petite sophisticate;
your small frame the measure of femininity: frail wrists
and a waist less than twenty-six. My share of this body
is not the same. Long legs and bones too thick, I inch myself
into your clothes, framing out bends where none were meant
to exist. I have yet to fit into this shape of my life without you,
collecting memories clasped together by remnants of leftover
belongings and threaded dreams of a time spent not sick.
My Mother’s Lemon Tree
My mother’s lemon tree was the one / naked my sister and I climbed
the one whose leaves pricked at soft flesh / was my mother’s
lemon tree. She kissed / with those same lips / the ones that climbed
our cheeks / and with little girls’ tongues we pricked
at the bitter flesh. When my mother’s lemon tree / could hold the wetness
of our mouths no longer / naked the fruit of my mother’s lemon tree came
down against our soft flesh / ripe and heavy / fresh juice spilling
to the ground.
Caitlin McCrory Evans is an educator and writer who lives out on the remote plains of Colorado. She holds an MFA from Texas State University, and her creative work has appeared in Burnt Bridge and Garden Leaf Press.