My mother’s beads were kept caged.
Darkness bled them of their colour
until they were the same pale as my fingernails
she rolled her own sweat into crystals
and hardened them to drops with her will
until they shone iridescent, collapsing
only after you looked for them too long
and even then, they diamonded light
sprung back into multiples.
With tears she was always turning away;
her own she put in perfume bottles she kept
on the glass shelf, and would press them
to her pulse points when pretending to leave.
With mine, she spent them all,
we wasted them on small doings
they watered the garden and dried up
in her shadow where we buried the blood
in the soil, there where the loam is so rich.