Water inside my house, water raining through floors, pouring out window sills.
No permission granted, no forms filled out.
Water that flows where it chooses.
Into my night dreams, along the edges of my fears.
Water that brings comfort.
Water that brings fortune.
“No problem,” she waves her hands.
The finger she lost to a cleaver cleaning chickens in
Fukushima was pointing to nowhere, to every direction that luck arrives from.
“Water means money. We don’ta mind.”
We don’ta mind when we repair pipes.
We don’t mind when we are shoveling it out the door. Send it on it’s way, but tell of it’s welcome just the same.
Wild fortune we would welcome.
There are so few things I remember my mom telling me. So few rules to live by. There should be so many, that I would be built of them, but there are just a few. My mom was unsure herself, I see that now. She excelled at any new task she tried. Knitting, crocheting, gardening, canning, catering. Maybe she was confident in letting me own my discoveries. I wanted someone who fussed over my hair. I needed someone who paid attention that my clothes fit properly. I wished for a mom who would recommend a book to read over summer break and spend hours talking about characters that exist in some writer’s mind. I would have liked a mom that told me what life was like when she was my age. Someone who gave me her hopes, who wanted me to do better than she did, to love better….to be loved in return.
I got a mom who told me that spilled, streaming, accidental water was nothing to be bothered by.
I got a mom who let me enter my years of menstruating without a mention of self-care or warnings of things to watch out for.
I lived half alive with a mom who led me to believe she was submissive and beaten. She refused to stand up against my maturing and tell me how she was smart and capable. All I wanted to see was myself in her. Without her self definition, I couldn’t be smart or capable either.
When did I become her ghost? She must have realized my thin, straight hair wasn’t hers; that my long narrow legs weren’t her short, sturdy legs; that my differences couldn’t be shoveled away.
I was her ghost. A child bought to replace one. One tragedy that envelopes the next. Somewhere down the road, consuming everything in it’s path. The ghost of a baby, of a girl, of a woman.