Dead Plants

My mother could bring a dead plant to life. And I mean, dead; brown leaves and all. Most would throw a dead plant away. But mom would nurse it back to life. I would taunt her every time she went out to that garden and watered that barren, brown plant. 

“Mom, that plant is dead dead. Just uproot it and start over,” I would say to her.

“…no, it’s still there. It just needs some time,” mom would reply.

Months passed. Seasons went by. And then, one day I saw a green leaf sprout from that barren spot I teased every morning. I was amazed because I didn’t have the patience my mother had. And she was always successful in bringing dead plants back to life.

But people are different. The same way mom never gave up on dead plants was the same way she never gave up on people. For that reason, many loved her, but many used her. In the end, the stress of trying to revive people, like plants, ended my mother’s life.

I remember her last days. I woke up each morning to water her, talk to her, encourage her. I even rolled her in that wheelchair she hated and sat in the sun with her, pruning her hair and braiding it back so we could see her sunken, but vibrant face.

“Stop bothering me, Martina,” she fussed at me weakly.

“No, I need to do your hair, and you need to get some fresh air,” I fussed back.

Years passed. Seasons went by. And one day, I saw a familiar woman raise her head from that empty spot where my mother was. She looked like her, but different in ways that reminded me that I am my own person. My mother was alive, but in me. 

I was amazed because I had finally found the patience to bring something back to life.

I was my mother’s dead plant.

But today, I am alive.

February 19th: The Sweet Release of Denise

I still feel the coil of your gray hair between my fingers. The oils grandmother used on our scalps drips down the part in your hair. I handle this earth with care for she is delicate. Oh how your brown skin hums melodies we cannot trace but remember; like the recipes we boil in pots.

My hands glide down silk arms light enough to wrap around my neck. Your strength transfers into a new vessel as I pick you up. You smile against my breast and we nest like two lovers reunited. I am familiar with this scene. You were me and we were meeting under the midwife’s reach.

I stare at my baby and pray I can give life to her. Take my life for her. But her might kept me here and her essence fills the morning air. I remember mother’s fingers in the coil of my hair, and I know who life has chosen.