Once a woman who lost her mother
told me the story of a guru rushing
to satisfy his dying mentor’s last wish.
For bread. “You see,” the woman said,
“if he died with an unfulfilled desire,
big or small, he’d risk reincarnation.”
She believed her mother’s dementia—
an almost-infancy—had completed
such a cycle. Her mother, never truly
nurtured, finally cared for like a baby.
Later, my sister shared
my mother’s last words: Get Michael!
I didn’t make it in time.
For months I’ve dreamed of a curtain.
No window. Just the curtain. Hanging
in the center of an empty room. Heavy
velvet. Dark grey. Swaying in a breeze
I can see but not feel. My grief seeping.
Like a gas.
I know now my reincarnation’s inevitable.
At night I whisper: Shall we be friends
next time? Cousins? How about sisters?
Though I am certain: I will be her mother.