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