where she’d left it to dry, oil outlines of my brother
or father against burnt sienna backgrounds.
She would leave her bottle of red wine uncorked by the window,
as if for me, her lipstick pressed in a perfect pattern around the opening;
everything she touched was art.
I craved it; the womanhood that settled in the bottom of a bottle.
I’d get drunk just to know the taste of growing old,
the bitter liquid in my mouth staining my own touched lips.
The longer I sat and watched my mother’s paintings dry, the more
the mistakes stuck out. I’d shut my eyes to it, and feel then the naked
darkness of peering into eyelids where once a canvas had been.
Emptying bottle between my knees, I’d have sat by that window
all day and night if it meant she would have