|Mother's Only Daughter
Mother loved you more than she loved us,
heart of earth with the autumn sun inside.
The three of us sisters knew you
lulled her Choctaw hunger, you,
the creamy white flower she stroked on calmer days.
You trembled under the full moon near the sultry streets
of Natchitoches and Saddle Tree, then
acted innocent while she dug peanuts
under solemn pines.
She kept you well hidden in the back
of the bin, but we knew a yam
was the only real daughter, well-behaved,
adapatable and sweet, the right color, not brown
but golden, and with enough of her heat, you
mastered her tricks. You pulsed in soil
and fit her palm. We pulsed on top
and ruined her plans. If you weren't rooted,
capable of rot, your swelling would have given
her cause for alarm. She would slip off your coat
and tell us stories of all those who had you
in their grip, how you freed them, fed them,
loved them true.
You store the memory
of her fierce cuisine, that pan of hot southern fried
popping as it flew, glasses bouncing off
counter tops, shattering, shambles springing up
for us to live through them. Smelling you,
I come to the full measure of my childhood,
tasting its gold strength and letting the rest fly.
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