Poetry: I Realize I Have Never Asked My Mom What Her Favorite Color Is As – Sarah Jeter

I Realize I Have Never Asked My Mom What Her Favorite Color Is As
Sarah Jeter

 

I sit on a bus. The fabric of the seat is soft. Gray velvet with
streaked rainbows and a military buzz cut. I close my eyes to
think of color. The sky three inches above the tree line at 7
p.m. Mid-June it’s bluebird wings at dawn. 7-hour bus ride.
The flowers outside my window are purple, the mountains
through the sliding glass door of my grandmother’s home in
Rio Verde, Arizona. She likes peaches the color of grapefruits
she can’t eat because of her medicine. I have a sister who
likes yellow; it’s warm the way she hasn’t been since her best
friend Taylor died. Cheek bones like garnet. I go back farther
and I am four. I haven’t started kindergarten yet. My mom
asks my favorite color from our red-checkered couch.
Blue, I
answer. The fat on my legs sinks 4 centimeters into taupe
carpet.
What color is this? She points to the sunflowers she
planted by our window, touching the squares of the screen
like fingertips trace lace.
Lellow. I’m smart because she says
so.
And what’s my favorite color? I open my eyes and the
memory stops. I cannot answer. I do not know and I sweat
fermented peach drops from the space between my
eyebrows. When I was five my mom let me eat blueberries in
the bathtub. Some blueberries float and some sink but most
people don’t know that. They don’t swim with their fruit.
Mom washed my hair. Dr. Bronner’s lavender soap. Asked me
about dolphins. Red sparkle shoes. Glass bottles and fairy
dust. I sat silent in bathtubs like rainbow cesspools.