Sensing me in the doorway, my mother wakes with a start.
Am I having another heart attack, she asks.
I can’t remember where I’m supposed to be.
You’ve been asleep a long time, I say.
The shape of her face, so square and aging, is my own face.
She sits up and I see a tessellation of brown down scatter,
her dark flight feathers rumpled with sleep.
I try to push forward through the doorway,
but the space between us is filled with thick gel dotted with egg shell.
Damn, she seems as confused as I am.
Aren’t you supposed to have a more complete understanding now, I ask.
Isn’t that the point of those stories we tell ourselves.
I don’t recognize you, she says,
the way you’re wearing your hair now, it’s different.
I’m wearing it like you used to.
I didn’t expect you to start looking so much like me, she says.
I didn’t expect this moment to be about hairstyles, I say.
Vinitia Swonger’s videography career influences her writing, which explores visual meaning. A communitarian, she runs mixed-genre salons. Vinitia sings with an improv group, writing and performing songs on the spot. Picture musical slam poetry generated in a collective. Her work appears in Abstract Magazine, Contrary, SLICE, and Storm Cellar.19