Winter 2001 • Vol. XXIII No. 1 Poetry |

Mothers

Lucy, my African mother poked dirt for grubs, sat on her haunches in the Olduvai Gorge. And who was her mother? A one-celled plant floating in water? One in a tribe of daughters, I float on ponds, swim in caves. Nobody's mother, I may walk backwards or sidewise through time. The woman who bore me parsed foreign tongues: Occitan, Latin. And at Lascaux her mothers blew paint from hollow tubes into bison and deer. I make poems out of lightning that braced me when I crackled into birth—thunder's child rocking on my haunches.

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