A dusky sheerness streaks
swathes of fabric that swish and crinkle
as my mother bends, stands,
prostrates, kneels, prostrates, stands, bends,
once, twice, five times.
She greets the angels perched
on her shoulders, ending
her alien ritual. Standing, she reaches
for styrofoam curves. The sweep of her veil,
and her soft accent inspire philanthropy
from a passing Samaritan:
This—is a tea bag.
This—is hot wa-ter.
You put it together and it makes tea!
My sister in a rage, rising,
How dare you?
Where do you think
your exotic “chai tea” came from?
My mother bends, stands,
recalls to my sister the serenity of kneeling,
prostration. Once, twice, five times.
I smell the sharp sweetness of burning incense:
A moving pain
born of immobility
seizes my legs.