I share my mother’s cuticles,
her calloused hands and round knuckles that crack
every morning like chimes on a clock.
I carry my mother’s ankles around
under the cuffs of my jeans;
I lug the weight of her full-bodied torso,
stuffed with arteries and bones and vessels
filled with blood to keep the whole thing
I have my mother’s varicose veins,
her webbed wrinkles,
the lines on her cheeks.
I bear the bumpy skin at the base of her wrist
where a sweater rubbed its wiry wool
against her pale skin there.
Her cheeks patch up red
as the blood under her skin blooms
in splotchy watercolor art—
she gave me her face for a canvas.
I open my mouth to speak
and her words spill out like
gravel and wet sand
between my lips.
I feel her in every notch
of our spine.
#AllisonOKeefe #Poetry #20172018