A Spell for My Mother’s Memory
by Sarah Lucille Cozort
Bitter root, bitter root, you are the very thing
to take to my mother in Hargrove. She
has lost her way back to me, and does
not even remember the taste of our fights
when I was a child, let alone the child.
Bitter root, my one hope, give her mind
a flicker—a moment of recognition. It’s all I ask:
for her to name a star a star, a possum a possum,
a daughter a daughter. I will shave you,
butter you, sugar you, and throw you in a pan.
We’ll cook up a spell and take you in a pot
down the road to Hargrove, and even if she
looks at me—you on her tongue, warm
as the word love—and calls a daughter
a bird or a possum, the bitter root, for once,
will be sweet and warm in her mouth.