Silver bells painted on my cheeks
so Mother could always find me,
my hair cut, woven into hers.
I polished the obsidian floor.
The sweetness at the centre
belonged to Tezcatlipoca –
Aztec Smoking-Mirror god.
Mother's memories rose
and sank into the burnished tiles.
Sometimes a vision serpent swayed
and a jaguar reared from its jaws.
Jimson weed takes away terror,
but at dawn before Mother woke,
I obediently dusted the dresser –
drawers full of stingray spines,
swordfish beaks, and a blade
called the Perforator
"for piercing tongues of daughters who talk".
From Magma No 30 (Winter 2004/5)