My mother used to hum when she
Brushed my hair, even sing sometimes.
On balmy Caribbean nights she
Would do it on the white wooden veranda,
The echoing sea serenading us with a lullaby
Of singing mermaids and dancing starfish.
She was calm on those nights, my mother.
Her face would relax to a beautiful smoothness
And I would see the girl she had once been.
She could love me fully at times like this.
Just as I was.
She would forget about rules and the “have to”
That chained her during the day, and turned
Her into a rigid code of dos and don’ts.
The wind was salty and fresh and soft,
On those Caribbean nights.
She would sit on a rocking chair, I on the floor,
And she would brush gently the nest of my hair,
Turning each wiry string into spun silk.
She would talk about days past, about games,
Her first kiss. She would be silent at times,
The only sounds being the wind, the sea, her hum,
The drumming of my heart at peace, wishing
Sunrise would never come and the night,
To be endless, my contentment to last forever.
She is gone now, my mother.
Our love affair was a roller coaster of
Bitter sweet feelings and demands.
But I have those Caribbean nights, in our big
White house, to remind me
That with all her shadows and mine,
She loved me, the best way she knew how.
And I hum softly as I too brush downy hair
In the coolness of the night.