Mother told me souls
are prayers with feet that
spark the walk through dark.
Her reflection appears in the bus
window, where bodies gather in
rows, telling stories of past lives.
She said I'd turn silver-haired,
shelter a bird caged inside my chest;
said talking only shortens breath.
That the fingers closing my eyes
would stitch my cells across the sky.
But nothing of the sirens, the engines
puffing steam, or watching myself rolling
off the street and into a lone room, coughing,
unwilling to leave her blurred at the bedside.