Sonnet for Bilingual Women
A mother and her daughter are shopping
in the dark, swiping hangers with their sharpened
mouths. One barks as the other howls,
though neither blink to see the tears. It’s always
one or the other these days: mother or
child, sun or moon, this dress or that dress.
Today the mother wants a trailing red
that folds like her sari’s silk. The child wants the blue
night sky, bundled in twitching stars.
Neither have seen lilacs bloom in the South.
The mother fears losing her child’s mouth
but really she fears losing her own. The sun
falls through the ground and the mother
gasps. She forgets that it always shines.