sometimes i see the little girl in her, the one that wanted to be a ballerina but shy stepped away for the mean of the others, the ones who called her elephant and made her tug on her leotard and wish for a mother who would hug her and make the awful disapper but her mother was part of the awful

and the england skies washed with tears and she planted flowers beside her father, the policeman who was never home, and she read books in her bed, while her mother, the seamstress, sewed patterns and smoked cigarettes and listened to classical music and dreamed of being an artist

sometimes as a child, i watched my mum blush for the skin on her body, watched her step into a closet so even dad couldn’t see her changing, the girl who was never told she was beautiful

the tumor came with the death of mum’s mother who decided to lie red in a bath-water casket
the tumor came when my mum found the razor beside the bathtub and didn’t know who to talk to because she was a pastor’s wife and pastor’s wives don’t have problems, and so we all watched mum hide again in her closet and try to forget only the tumor remembered

and she bought a hat for my wedding to hide the hair loss and when she smiled she’d never looked so beautiful but the tumor kept growing until i moved home from korea thinking we were going to lose her and i bathed her and sang to her and changed her and did things only mothers do for children and then

the little girl began to dance, even though she couldn’t walk

and the closet doors flung open, there was no reason to hide and holy became her who used to blush shame

and the tumor couldn’t stay for the angels that made her whole and now

the doctors scratch heads and say it’s gone, eight years after my wedding, after the hat, after the mri pronounced it so

the tumor, gone

she’s missing part of her brain but learning life again, and i talk with her on skype and she asks me how my baby grows and i cry, for she remembers i’m pregnant, and she tells me what it was like when she was pregnant with me

she still dances when the music plays and she still forgets to turn the stove off but she reads anna karenina and spends hours typing letters to me and she loves me bigger, she says

and tonight she fell backwards down stairs, hitting her head and her arm, and breaking it in three, and i’m wondering, will you pray? for my mother who loves bigger? for the one who opened womb so i might live? for the one who never knew she could dance, until a disease took away her ability to walk?

((thank you))

(((i love you mum)))