Two of each—cup, saucer, bread plate
in lukewarm water, I wash away
thirty years of dust since Mother died.
At 42, ovarian cancer like Queen Mary.
Bloody Mary quite contrary
why leave your subjects crushed?
I thought I’d run into Mother if I traveled:
Chicago, Barbados, Edinburgh.
Against the sun, I raise the porcelain
eyeing it for chips and cracks. Bone china
fired from bone ash like Mother’s gray powder
handed me in a bronze urn.
Or is this cup with songbird glazed in blue
mere clay: my lips where once were hers.
First Published: Mademoiselle’s Fingertips (Summer 2008)