WRITTEN BY MIRA JIANG
Dura mater, the durable mother,
dusky yellow tough as bone,
a layer that resists the scalpel’s slice
and encases delicate soul inside.
It’s a mother’s arms that guard and hold
against winds battering her cracked stone keep,
with ivy torn by forces that stun
and would reduce us to dust scattering
whisper-gold in the setting sun.
She is my fiercest protector, my port in the storm,
a reed that will snap before she bends
if it means I will grow in her stead.
I know she will shelter me
as long as she is able to.
Arachnoid mater, the spider mother,
cobwebbed maroon crossing transparent film,
draining fluid that cushions but in excess might drown
me in the weight of dreams that shine too bold.
It’s a mother that tempers our wildest natures,
placid as a mirror lake, with willow trees
swaying in the gentle breeze.
Dawn dances on her waters,
iridescent drops adorning gilded lotus
nestled amidst the lily pads.
Once, I couldn’t wait to spill past her banks
and carve my own path through the rough-hewn rock.
But as I rush forth, she’s splitting streams,
linking tributaries that flow to me,
so if I falter I can return along brooks
and gullies she’s carved through stone.
Like spider threads converging,
all her rivers lead to home.
Pia mater, the tender mother,
thinner than paper, awash with blood
vessels carrying life to mind.
It’s a mother’s heart that nurtures and shapes,
pressing stars to strength,
moonlight to memories within my marrow,
building me with tales of the night’s silver gleam
on lands and people I have never seen.
And when I shatter, she’s there to pick up the pieces,
hands them back to me
so I can put myself together
the way she once forged
with a love so fierce it burned fire to bone.
She holds me closer than membrane to gyri,
in warmth as eternal as the endless mind.
Mira Jiang is a high school senior from Coppell, Texas. Her work has been published by or is forthcoming in publications such as Flash Fiction Online, Paper Lanterns, and Hobart and recognized by the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest and the Geek Partnership Society. She can often be found reading in trees or dancing in empty studio rooms.