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To My Mother Kneeling in a Cactus Garden

For a month I tried to think of what to say.
How many times you've swept a kitchen knife
across your neckline and said, This is how
you end a marriage
. How many more wicks you light
for God. I could tell by your eyes you've never

seen him. What would you call the feeling
of abandon and caution and relief that keeps me
tethered to you? Let me be the husband
you prayed for, the son you wanted, or mother
who held you. I'll build your new patio swing

and fold your coffee linens, wash your hardened
feet in warm water. To me, you have become a prison
of its own light. I'll grow greens and the parsley
you love and wrap them into cold sandwiches.
I will place them where you can reach with ease.

E. J. Koh

A Lesser Love
Pleiades Press

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