When Mother Was a Boat

Élan Young

She tried to break what the mirror saw,
but could only sweep the sharp edges of herself away.
Red water streamed from the rags she squeezed like oranges.
Outside, green secrets were growing through
the cracks in concrete. Just then I grew up. Out the window,
the mountain’s nose was wrinkled like a man’s. A fly was drunk
with panic against the pane. My mother was a boat,
docked. Caught in a black wave knocking. Self
against bandaged self. I was young and wanted to see inside the wound.
© 2007 University of North Carolina Greensboro
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ÉLAN YOUNG grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and now lives in North Carolina, where she is completing her MFA in writing at UNC Greensboro. This is her first published poem.