Sunlight

It is the fall of 1985
and my mother is unwrapping
a soft yellow blanket from
jaundiced tinged skin –
exposing the stiff shoulders,
tongue pressed hard into the bottom of a bare red mouth…
screaming newborn.

She lays the baby on the carpet in front of the bay window
and lets sunlight splash –
a Vitamin D baptism.

She draws her dreams into the baby’s skin,
traces patterns of hopes for the future
with an intensity that leaves behind
history’s long scratch of tradition.

Thirty-four years later
and I realize I have leveraged her hopes
against my heart
and have failed again and again
to come to a compromise
between the tap, tap, tap
of my name behind my teeth
and the salt etching of her tears.

I lay in the window of my house
I pretend the narrow light
is a small cathedral arch
and I’m bathing in the closest I’ll ever come
to redemption.

© Laura A. Lord, 2020


Thank you to MindLoveMisery for the prompt.