In the dark,
a ghost who claims to be my mother
is pulling up radishes.
She is in a dress, though
I have not seen my mother wear a dress in years.
I heard her panting from my bedroom, big erratic breaths.
It’s too early to be harvesting roots.
This morning, in the kitchen,
my real mother sliced tomatoes into
two karat rubies, their juices running off her wrists.
I told her that
in Mexico they carve portraits
from taproots to celebrate Christmas,
ladies in elegant dresses.
My ghost mother is taking everything.
From across the yard, I can see
the roots tangled around her ankles, threatening to pull her under.
I ask her why she has come back now,
why so early but
my lips aren’t moving.
Instead, I hear her murmuring species
as she plucks each from the dirt,
her voice so similar to mine
that on the phone we are indistinguishable.
April cross. French breakfast.
Plum purple. Cherry-belle.