My mother is asked to identify a body

J.C. Rodriguez

& thank god it won’t have a name — not that she’ll need any help knowing

who I belong to. She knows my face as her own. Identical twinkles

lodged in our eyes; mine first appearing from a palm-twirled cord,

singing to a crush on a transparent landline. My mother held

every memory she ever made in her hands. That is why

we only spare two fingers to eat, dancing around the food

& forcing more grace with each swallow. She once apologized,

said “I honestly thought you’d get your father’s butt”

Yet, she could find my silhouette in any night, uncracked & lush

with obsidian, but never darker than her hair — once shrouded

over my crown, she laughed that we could be sisters. I don’t know

what the coroner will say–just that my mother won’t hear a word,

only her tears, feeling right at home upon landing & giggling

when my face takes forever to absorb their moisture.

She’ll know these pores stayed tight. We prepared,

our whole lives, for the open casket.


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