Some things are done in faith, my mother says
while scooping ashes from the pit that blazed
last night. She lifts her hands up to the sky,
opens her fists. Her fingers clean against
the humid breeze that periwinkles dark
with soot. It leaves a dirty fingerprint
of dust behind, a guilty child’s, on red
hibiscus petals.

I don’t understand

this life and how it works; leftover grease
and coal will make tomorrow’s flowers bloom
but dull the colors of today. Her eyes
close and she waits for flowers to emerge
like boils across the garden’s lovely face.

That’s how it goes, don’t question me, she says
and throws another handful to the wind.
Bare-kneed, I sit in grass; my fingernails
split blades. I try to comprehend this world
as ashes gray her honeysuckle hair.

Originally published in Hawaii’s Pacific Review

Katie Hoerth

Author: Katie Hoerth

Katherine Hoerth is the author of four poetry books. Her most recent, Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots (Lamar University Literary Press, 2014) won the Helen C. Smith Prize from the Texas Institute of Letters for the best book of poetry. Her work has been published in journals including Texas Poetry Calendar, Concho River Review, and Mezzo Cammin: A Journal of Formal Poetry by Women. She teaches writing at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and serves as poetry editor of Amarillo Bay and Devilfish Review. Katherine lives in Edinburg.

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