My mother specialized in staining
in inking up the sky
mixing indigo with aubergine
weaving the thundercloud's gloom
into conversations and squalling
morning with shadow.
She worked on technique
simulating thunder that made
hearts stop on the scale of blackened notes
fingers working over those keys
that most made raise happen
bitten lips before the applause of the raindrops.
My mother was all discord when she chose it
swam lengths of the bay with her teeth
rowed a boat to green island just to be alone
walked all the streets of London looking for
a familiar doorway, a teacher, a wooden peg.
She worked on stairs, leaning on railings
she followed the bruise that tattooed
across her seldom heart. My mother knew
the sunset’s blister, flew across the world
to avoid flying, made seven homes and left them all
sighing, clicking her teeth.