While I was still inside her,
my mother read me books from her faith,
drew this world as a heap of trash,
said if we could only rise high enough above it,
we’d see it was just a garbage can,
a pile of the discarded and rotting.
She’d tell me stories of our limitations,
our lives small as anthills,
mistaking those lives for greatness.
Later, when I wanted to know about Hell -
if I would end up there -
she’d nod her chin for me to lie back down,
lift the tail of the sheet and lower it
so the air rolled in waves beneath it
and the cotton landed
cool on my knees, then pull
the quilt over me, place the end of it
in my fingers balled up beneath my chin,
and say We’re there already.