My Mother’s Myth
She tells me death comes
when you dream of teeth
falling like dirt, like spit.
Just before her mother died,
each tooth dropped dread,
my mother wrapped them in foil,
buried them in a pit,
she tells me that death arrives
when there’s white linens, knits.
It doesn’t matter if the thread
is washed, bright, or sunlit.
We all will be dead like your father.
When my mother went back to her village,
she walked into her dead brother’s
home, long after the roof split,
she sifted broken plates,
walked past the fire pit
where he collapsed before
a blaze hit and bit his skin,
she found it in the rubble,
a delicate table cloth once white,
embroidered with flowers,
now rain stained and rat slit.
She tells me she’s going to see
what she can save as she pulls it
out of her luggage, hands it
to me, my fingertips touch
but never commit to holding.
I let it fall from her instead.