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
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