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My mother’s eyes are beautiful.

 

When I was young, my mother would tell me stories.

Most were of legends

of how some animals and things came to be.

How the pineapple got its many eyes;

The legend of the crocodile;

The cashew and the taro…

I think there was even one about a frog

who gave a girl a starlight on her forehead.

 

Before kids would learn of them from books and in school

My mother had already begun weaving a tapestry of magic

to wrap me in always before I sleep.

And in the darkness of the night

Her eyes would sparkle with the candle light.

 

My mother’s eyes are clouded.

 

I grew up with my mother’s stories.

But as I grew older, and a little more bold.

They became less charming but contained more gold.

(And not the type you can buy either.)

But I didn’t know it then…

For me, they were the ramblings of an old woman.

So her eyes would flash under the fluorescent lamp.

With fangs bared, I reluctantly cower.

 

Looking back, I realize

there was a strange look in her beady eyes.

She feared for her child.

 

My mother’s eyes are empty.

 

I grew up with my mother’s stories.

But for a long time, she was silent.

And so was I.

 

My mother’s eyes are child-like.

 

I saw her once staring up at the night-sky

I think by then, I was already in my twenties.

She had asked me how the earth and the stars came to be

(She was not able to finish school you see.)

This time, I was the one who told her a story.

 

Beneath the moonlight,

There was delight in her eyes.

The tapestry she alone used to weave

Now also bear my hand-print.

 

I grew up with my mother’s stories.

But distance had kept me away from them.

Last night, after a long time, I heard them once again.

And some I never heard before.

 

Like aged wine, I now understand

The things she used to tell me when I was a child

The magic was never gone

But her tales, to me,

now held notes I had barely noticed then.

 

I suddenly realized how hauntingly arresting my mother’s eyes are:

how they laugh at the memories of her childhood mischievousness

how hard the ferocity was whenever she recounts the hard times

how they turn knife-like and eerie when she speaks of things that lurk in the dark.

And that far-away look that can only be worn

by someone who had seen much darkness in life.

 

In that dimly-lit room, I watched

her entire life glimmer in her eyes.

And then I knew.

I will be entranced by her stories

for the rest of our lives…

 

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