There are days she tells me it’s grown since I’ve moved,
the freckle above my left brow. You taught me
how to make it bigger, I say, remembering
my mother’s face close to the mirror,
mornings before church, brown pencil in hand
filling in the mole above her lip.
There was a day I was born upside-down,
speck left over on my forehead,
the only bare lip to inherit her blood.
There were days I’d take a crayon to my face,
play god, create pigment where it didn’t exist.
There were days she would sing Cielito Lindo,
Ay ay ay ay, to her reflection.
There were days I would beg, Mamí,
bésame como la novela, asking for the frenzy
kiss of Juan Carlos and his mistress that I saw her watch on TV
while she folded my cotton briefs.
There were days, I wanted her hands at the base of my neck,
wanted to toss my head side to side in what looked like love,
freckle on my lip finally.
I didn’t understand then, those kisses
weren’t meant for me, those kisses
Instead, she blessed my freckle with her mouth,
forehead to lip, lunar a lunar, kissing
where lovers would kiss me, my skin
receiving the dot where lovers
and husbands kissed her. Oh,
the weight of a hundred lips in that moment.
There are nights that we fill in our moons, mine
here in Brooklyn, hers in Boston, as she falls
asleep to Don Francisco.
I darken the spot, make it full, mimic her skin.
No se lo des a nadie, cielito lindo—
I sing advice to my face.