Lula

When I close my eyes I will fall into the cracks, the places where I do not exist and you do not exist. The place that traps me and keeps me and when it spits me out I do not remember.
Today you wear the sweater that you said I knitted. You pressed it into my hands and you said that you hadn’t washed it since I last mended it and it felt rough and unfamiliar in my hands and besides the color was horrific–surely I wouldn’t out you in that fast red–but I held it to me because your eyes were large and wet and it was what you needed.
You call me Mama.
I reply.
I don’t feel like Mama.
When you walk in your eyes hold hope and even though I do not know you I smile. You return the smile and I marvel at your beauty.
Mama,” you say. Your mouth moves but your words escape you and you swallow before you say it. You stare into my eyes, gripping something that you seem to have lost. I’m afraid that you will break if I look away.
Mama,” you name me.
You tell me my name (Lula Tabitha), and you brought the baby to see me.
She is a beautiful baby and I don’t know her and I don’t know you.
But there is a space in my brain that feels like yours.
You said it was alright that I forgot. But this time I’m writing it down, and if I stay awake I will see you clearly.
I don’t know where I go, but it is lonely here, in my brain, in the space that I think belongs to you.

**************************************************
He wasn’t him (what was his name? Joe or Jim or something.), but he looked like him. He was an asshole. He deserved to know.
**************************************************
You came again and you smelled of powder. The baby was too cold; she didn’t have socks or shoes. Just a ragged blanket with faded bears.
You should have someone, a mama or someone, knitting that baby a blanket.
You called me “Mama,” again, sadder than the first time.
When you left you kissed me harder and I pulled you into a hug that I could feel in my bones. They ache, but when you are here I forget that. I felt you in my bones, and the place in my brain that waits for you.
***************************************************
I put my keys right there. I know I set them right there. I’m here waiting for him to pull the car around. Someone wrote here already.

***************************************************
Cheryl. You didn’t come today, but I remember: Cheryl and Jherine. I feel your smile in my soul.
I woke up, as if from a long sleep I awakened even though my eyes have been open all this time. I remembered you and I cried.
You called me Mama.
***************************************************
I remember that sweater! I have knots in my bones that let me know I made thousands.
I won’t remember anything after I sleep.
**************************************************
Cheryl. I love you.
Mama.

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