day 8: radishes




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,


animals, dancers,

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.

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