for my mother
My parents argued in squalls over soap.
Mother didn’t want anything as ambiguous
as Ivory. She loved her Camay one shade
lighter than a cameo. When I was nine,
it matched out bathroom perfectly.
Her scented soap to my father’s dismay
was a taut muscle resolutely pastel
in gender assertion. Delicate profiles
and tendrils dissolved nightly against
her skin, while my father’s morning
lather pummeled the drain with the fire
and fury of lava as he showered.
They never shared a soap dish
in their slippery union.
I think about this seeing
a certain shade of sunset
that holds the warm tumult of pink,
found in things that sink and float
passed to daughters like cameos.
from her book The Size of Sparrows
Finishing Line Press, 2006
used by permission of the poet
Listen to Gina Ferrara reading “Cameos”