I want to be the woman
next to me. Not because of the hot
brisket sandwich nestled between
her summer fruit and new potato
salad, but because of her wrinkles,
the deep grooves on her thin face.
They are deeper than any I've seen
on a white woman, furrowing
like heavy bark or narrow
gullies that travel down dirt mounds,
making small rivers for hard summer
showers. I have the urge
to touch them, wiggle my index
into the grooves, trace them, watching
the flesh on either side making room
for me to excavate the reason behind
it. Each must mark an occasion.
I watch her smile through me to an old
man walking toward her.
The lines crease fully as her skin
tightens and I watch her face
pulling another line. I want to be
this woman because of the way
the old man says, Hello, Mommy,
and her skin tightens with, Hello, my son.