Even as she rejoins perfunctorily when you query,
–How is school? or Do you have a boyfriend? —
she scoffs at your drab flabbiness, the discolorations
of craggy cheeks, the lag-behind. She mocks as you press
palms into the plague of lumbago.
She forgets uncounted times when she extended
toddler arms, palm facing palm, thumbs up
in the universal salute: Pick me up! And you did,
carrying her even though she was already a big girl
who could walk on her own.
Just as you have forgotten how you sucked dry
your mother’s tits until they hung like
two braids across her chest. How you raced
as far as your legs would bear.
We do not tread nimbly upon the back of time,
we trample its soft belly.