I'll always remember my mother's eyes—
the way she squints
even when she smiles,
like she's angry at the world
for all the pain that pushed its way into her heart.
Did giving birth
to an Elvis impersonator and five strong women
take its toll on her eyes, "windows to her soul?"
Did being married to my father,
a man with a million plans
and a knack for executing them,
one at a time,
put that worry in her eyes?
Did the death of her sister,
shot in the heart by her husband,
in a deer hunting mishap,
work its way into her psyche?
Did she inherit the pain in her eyes
from her mother and father
who brought it with them
from El Greco?”
I see my mother's eyes in my sisters' eyes,
my brother's eyes, and mine.
Sometimes I see her eyes
in the eyes of my children,
my sibling's children,
and her great grandchildren.
My mother's eyes
are an heirloom we carry with us,
a genealogical gem – as hard to penetrate
and precious as the sapphire stone
in her mother's wedding ring,
the one I now wear