My mother will die with a cliché on her mouth—
I’m going to God or Love each other and live—
she will embarrass me even in her last moment,
common as the Kleenex she blows her nose into.
Unlike Rita Dove’s Beulah, she will not think,
with horrified longing, There is no China.
She will not ask what she knows of Africa,
or the equivalent of a land of origin.
As far as she is concerned, China is Africa,
and Africa may as well be China as anything.
She is going to God. She has loved and lived.
My mother will die contented, non-tragic.