Nana calls it Amazing Grace.
She spun the earth from pebbles
into this bubble of young bliss,
sitting on a stone with me,
growing tales of fairies and gnomes,
teaching me to cream calendula
and make therapeutic tinctures
out of rose petals and wormwood.
I followed her every tread,
sashaying down the dirt path,
splinters in my heels,
beaming as she tended her herbs.
I would taste the mint leaves,
catch a flower in my hand,
and watch the koi undulate
beneath dark green water.
My mother took me away
ten years ago to a tiny apartment
with black mold
and her black boyfriend.
Now I can return for spells of time,
Turn my car into the gravel parking lot,
and remember myself running around naked
hearing the love story of the sun and the moon.
Today I find her sitting in a chair,
running her fingers over a breeze,
crushing a cherry blossom beneath her foot.
And I can smell the difference.
The wind blows about my hair.
The aroma of hot nectar gone,
replaced by something pungent,
like my ex’s apartment
where red-eyed strangers sat all day
and buds littered the coffee table.
She rises, mutters something about leaves,
takes me into the Moonshine barn
where I used to paint and write my own stories.
There is tinfoil on the windows, light burns
from lamps surrounding potted plants
growing in a mass of jagged green leaves.
I step over a worn paint stain
upon the frigid stone floor.
You shouldn’t be here she whispers.
Her fairy eyes turn to flames,
those deep sage eyes, just like mine,
wrinkled now, covered in veins of blood.
She tells me of the big man,
in a yellow spaceship,
putting discs in her brain,
and the money,
and the system,
blurring her hands around her head,
a mismatch of syllables slur,
swirling in the humid, stinking draft.
I stumble out into clean air,
her screams muted within my head.
She won’t come out to catch me.
I turn my car around in a whirl of lank dust.