Melissa Cui

Mother

Golden August afternoon, 3:54 pm, a digital clock displays in red numbers.
When my stomach betrays me and I follow invisible allure to the kitchen
I stand, all tiptoes on a rickety wooden stool, reaching for the all too high jar

Cotton socks brushing against wood when
The sound of high heels rounds the corner
The empty kitchen whispers excuses and accusations

Waiting for the stern wrinkles to glare at me
I grip the jar tighter, neatly screwed shut, void of fingerprints
Labelled “chocolate chip cookies,” ornate black swirls and simple handwriting

Just like the type of character my mother plays
Clean, clear-cut, sophisticated, beautiful but assuming
Yet nothing can touch her heart.

Prepared to accept the punishment, but
A twinkling voice floats over, plucking strings of a harp
“Cookies only after dinner, honey” the words smile at me

I notice two more pairs of shoes by the front
When we’ve finished dinner and she’s polishing the dishes
she forgets to give me cookies.

 

©2016 by the author. Used with permission.

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