I Worry My Mother Will Die and I Will Know Nothing
BY ASA DRAKE
Sometimes, history is too beautiful to be believed.
Until dinnertime, my grandmother sold gardenias
wrapped in banana leaves. Then, she found
better ways to earn a living. Years later, at an
American restaurant, I’m mistaken for a waitress
wearing all my silk. An accident I knew in my body
like the pride I felt when my adult mother said
I have narrow feet. Mother warns me, Nothing will
change. I’m alive and you don’t know anything.
It was winter when my mother spoke, apples
rolling in the backseat, the fragrance shifting off-
site under the great deterrent of rain. It’s still winter,
with a brown leaf staining my work
slacks. I smell the tea olives working up
spring (or the luxury of that kind of thinking
in January) when I explain to another
that my lunch wasn’t useful. All my life,
I’ve wanted to lay with my stomach to the grass.
I’ve wanted to eat from community gardens.
I wrote a lie I’ll admit now. I didn’t eat
the municipal fruit. I bought the Cosmic Crisp
over the Honeycrisp for a dollar surcharge because
I wanted extra shelf life. The last day of the week, I split it
to decide if it’s for sharing or eating whole. It’s a luxury
to have your hunger. I’m sure I don’t need to
go back, but can we go back to the restaurant? I am laughing
with the woman at the table next to mine about the woman
who would have me serve while I celebrate. She was going
to eat one dish, and I’ve ordered five. You know
I’ll still leave hungry because I don’t tell you
what I eat. See the phoenix with its mouth and feet grasping
for two servings? I am where I come from.