Mama’s vacuum echoes from church balcony
down to red carpet below. I push through
apex shadows. Spirits permeate my bones,
laugh into my eyes. The spectral sanctuary
air says, Remember, dust everything.
Moon streams through stained panes of glass.
I clutch a rag streaked grey as bone,
smooth it over the stiff shoulders
of pews, pass the cloth over
them. Dust collects again.
Mama, are you done yet? I glimpse a yellow
moonlike flash of glove scouring the toilet.
She wipes her forehead on her sleeve, bustles
us into brightly lit classrooms to read
until she’s finished mopping empty hallways.
She carries bags stretched full, heaves them
over, into giant dumpsters before we drive
south down the forehead of the moon
that follows, casting a map of ghost light
home. Although the moon’s only following
the 101 South, I imagine Mama’s following
the moon, that its lunar eyes and mouth
are leading us into space, that moon dust
replaces dirt in this place, that we will
feel with our hands the moon’s cratered face,
grasp handfuls of dust, and allow the fine
particles to sift through ungloved fingers
sparkling and luminescent as only
heavenly matter can be. On the moon, we
will examine the origins of our hands, our faces.