My mother is a single rose in
a cauldron of thorns. Watch
her. Watch as she recedes into
sunset, everything she casts.

When there is a flame somewhere
about her eyes, know there is a
fire. Burning its way up, everything
she touches. She still can't find

words to inveigle the surprise
of not wanting to be a mother.
“This boy calls you Ma”, her old
friends remind her. Sometimes
she forgets she has us at all. She
only counts her earrings, photos,
and wedding rings from marriages
she doesn't know the outcome. My

mother is sweet. Just that she
doesn't know she is. When we
teach her that, she quickly learns
to forget it, too. It's a game we play.
Prosper Ìféányí

Prosper Ìféányí is a Nigerian writer. His works are featured or forthcoming in Caret: McGill University Graduate English Journal, Black Warrior Review, Identity Theory, and elsewhere.

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