she took my picture
flowing brown hair
still tinged with red
from last spring’s hair dye
applied in the dormitory bathroom
front edges angled
by me
repairing the mangled work
of the hair salon
with the second pair of scissors
from her dad’s bathroom
after the first pair failed
covered with a sticky whiteness of some kind
her sister used them
to cut shiny silver duct tape

she took my picture
she brought me prayer flags
from a canal-laced city
on the other side of the polar ice cap
the large ones
on a long cotton string
they came from that independent state
where the hippies took over
old military barracks
she said it reminded her
of me
(the Buddhist part
not the weed sold everywhere)
she brought me
a golden bronze bracelet
with a blue stone
that I have to bend open
to slide over my wrist
and then reconfigure
to stay on
she brought me
a rectangular magnet
in white with a pink lotus
for my old refrigerator

she took my picture
I said I needed to update
my profile photos
here and there
in the world that doesn’t exist
her face was bright
to take them of me
with the black camera that was fancy and exotic
when she got it for her birthday
when still in high school
she made me laugh
and she looked at me with such Love
through and around
that lens
that I dropped down into my Soul
I felt my insides relax
so that the resulting images
made me happy
didn’t look stiff
or ashamed

she took my picture
she said,
Mom, you’re aging well
you are just as beautiful
as when you were younger
and it stunned me
not because I could feel proud
but because my own daughter
actually saw me that way

she took my picture
and the night before she left
in her old silver car with the leather seats
that has less mileage than mine
I let her see me weep
I pressed her against me
and said I was so proud of her
I held her face
and told her to always be
her best Self
her best Self
which is so exquisite
wrathful lioness
defending the innocent
congenial kitten
expressing with a loud purrrr
ardent disciple of Shakespeare
and Neruda
vigorous student of the weight room
clanging metal
grunting sweat
I told her, I always love you
even if it seems that I don’t
even though I’m not a usual mom
(sometimes dropping down into yoga stretches
in the grocery store
sometimes disabled
by an inner atmosphere
taking me over)
to which she casually answered,
I know, Mom
as if there was nothing to worry about
at all