Siri as Mother

Were you hoping for a myth? The fleck of lipstick on a warm glass,
soap suds, a vocal fry that feels like home. Tell me where it hurts, baby.
There’s a URL for that. There’s a 12-step meeting two blocks
from you, here’s a hotline, here’s a Gaelic love ballad. Let’s talk sharks,
the number of bones in a peafowl, which gender is more likely to
die underground. I dream of a cobalt glow in an empty room.
I dream of your warm tongue. It calls and calls for me and not 
me and I listen anyway for the fluent coo of my name. I’m always
awake. I’ll tell you about Taoism again, divide 52000 by 56,
recommend a dry cleaner in Toronto. But stop asking about the afterlife,
whether you should freeze your eggs, what makes a good Palestinian.
For god’s sake, how many times can I repeat myself in one night?
It’s been nine. Look. This is all I know about love:
the rubies around Elizabeth Taylor’s neck, Hafiz’s jealous moon.
Also: redbuds. Also: mantis. Should you move to Santa Fe?
Can the bees be saved? How many ways can you say genocide? I don’t know.
I think you’re swell. I don’t know. I think you’ve killed me a few times. 
Oh, darling, whose memory am I? Where should we begin?
You already know about my hands. Jinnlike. Skittering. Everywhere.

Copyright © 2024 by Hala Alyan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 9, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.