Don’t say face of the moon, not
voice like morning dew. Instead, say hook-
in-the-tongue, try barb-in-the-flesh,
They are turning their locks
to paint their faces
and their daughters’ faces.
They look on as the girls regard
their eyes in mirrors, in the long
cracked mirror of history, and war.
They paint themselves into existence
inside the shuttered rooms
of their hearts, where freedom
still bristles. They are stripping veils
from their faces and letting loose
their glossy hair. They are singing
with their daughters, first
softly, and then loudly, in unison.
They have taken their girls
underground. They open battered books
to teach them letters and words
that may save them. Some shave
their daughters’ locks so the girls might
walk a different route each day
with cracked books tucked into bags of apricots.
They prepare for the minutes apart,
the hours. They wait
for what seems days, months, years.
But first they kiss, they embrace.
They take one last look at each face.