by Meg Eden
my mother polishes my shoes
& cleans the bedroom floors.
She buys me new bras & dresses.
She packs bins with old drawings,
trophies, Pokémon toys & kitsch
family heirlooms, the way wives
filled their pharaoh’s tombs
with everything they might need
in the afterlife. She brushes my hair
for me, trims my eyebrows
& upper lip hair, as if I am a corpse
being prepared for viewing. As if
this is the last time she’ll be able
to touch my forehead, part my hair
or tell me I look like Audrey Hepburn
when I keep myself maintained.
Her own mother died not long after
I was born. She fingers the mole
on her neck when she tells me this again.
I hope I live a long and healthy life,
she says, loading my inheritance
into the car, making sure I know
the names of all the family members
living in those boxes.