My Mother Demanded Gratitude
Bone-ache signaled growth,
height a sure thing.
Hiccups? The lungs' desire
to fulfill their contract with the body.
Stubbed toe, throbbing funny bone,
leg of pins and needles --
even a toothache, a blessing:
"If it hurts, it's not dead."
Any pain better than none, better
than the nerves' apathy.
And so she bubbled with laughter
when the car window closed
on my fingers or a camera swinging
from her chest clocked my forehead
as she picked me up, her joy boiling
over my pained but breathing body.