That cloudless morning I walked alone
down the terraced farms
to pick white pearly shells
that laced the riverís skirt.
I opened almost every miniature
oyster shell hoping to find a pearl,
instead my hands got sticky
touching the small shriveled
creatures curled inside.
I collected their shells in my frilled skirt
and washed away the sand.
I put them in my belt around my flat stomach
and walked uphill to string them
for my unborn sister.
The next morning when the sun
reached the top of the sky I arrived
at the hospital to find my mother
lying on a metal bed with IVís
poking the green veins in her translucent arms.
"Whereís my sister?" I asked.
"Your brother died," my motherís
face was tearless.
My family name died a still death
and was buried at midnight,
but my sisterís shelled ornaments lay still
in my sweating palms.