…I’m responsible for her life

My mother isn’t dead but
I’m responsible for her life
as we return from the hospital.
When she enters the house
it no longer acknowledges her as the owner,
the walls close in with suspicion,
the water comes cloudy out of the faucets.
One leg is late while walking
dragging melancholic behind her
as if it hadn’t wanted to come back.
The other, in turn,
tries to pretend
that nothing happened,
it rushes to arrive at this race,
running into things
like a nervous animal.
For anyone else
coming back would be a relief.
But for her it means
being my mother again, and wife.
I open the closet door
and brush away the moths
hanging around the linens like jailers.
I put on her clothes
but I know it’s not enough.
I hold her life as though it were
a silk spun by worms
that have never seen a tomb.
I try to be that leg
that drags behind
but today I’m wearing the
white and flowered
dress of her youth.

Original poem by Carla Chinski. Excerpted from her debut collection Canciones de cuna para mi madre (Llanten 2019, Buenos Aires) and translated from the Spanish by Jack Rockwell.