“My Lover’s Mother” by Stephanie Huang

I.

That one weekend I slept
at your mother’s house,

you watched us from the wall,
the bookshelf in the living room,

smiling, miserable, through
wooden frames and plexiglass,

you clung to cool fridge
I tasted your word,

your scrawl, slanting, carefree.
You hid in drawers folded

underneath copies of
Dracula, Homer, old rugby tees,

You lingered
outside the laundry room,

smelling light blue
and pure while my feet

padded sockless on daybreak.
You were dust particles

in slanted sunlight,
and I breathed you in.

II.

When I plucked blueness from the sea
and rubbed it in my eyes,

she dried my hair in that bathroom
with your shaving cream—

hot air against cold scalp.
She put witchlight in my palms—

rubbed orange in my strands,
I felt her hands

roughly soft in the way
a mother’s are,

I felt your hands,
softly rough in the way

a man’s are—
in the hands

that held my hands
when you couldn’t,

when you could,
I saw the woman

who made you,
and made you a man.

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