Mary Ellen Sanger

Her mother stitches furrows
from strands of her own flecked hair.
Blood from her pricked finger
crowns a ridge of steep mountains at dawn.
Golden rows are corn, indigo swirls are rain.
Threads of your life, her mother says,
to bring good fortune
and strong children
to harvest roots and scare spiders
from the corners of your home.
Maya wears this blouse
on her wedding day,
the sun resplendent
about her neck
in scarlet triangles
you are the center
you are the hearth
you are a woman
a wife.
When Maya pulls it over her head
she feels for the first time
the ancestral sun ablaze on her breast
where her mother soaked the bright thread
in juice pressed from early season chilies.
This, too, Maya’s mother said.
This, too, you will endure.

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