My Mother's Golem

Amanda VanNierop

Saint Louis University

She tells me over coffee,
and I’m not sure where to look.

We’re sitting at our kitchen table
and the sun has already lit the backyard
something beautiful.
I listen to my mother tell me
what I already knew, deep down.
I try not to wince.
I listen and I nod and I drink.

I imagine my mother as a young girl,
feeling so much of what I feel now,
wishing—desperately—as I often wish,
that she had another, made from the same clay.

Should I have checked my mother’s hands
seconds after my birth,
I don’t think I would have been surprised
to find mud beneath the fingernails.

You are not a living thing.
My mother points out the bluebirds
resting on the feeder.

I sip my coffee.
My toes crumble in my sock.

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