Ruby Was Her Name

My mother, who opened my eyes, who 
brought me into the terrible world, 
was guilty. Her look apologized: 
she knew what anyone said was true about us 
but therefore unfair. How could they blame us 
for doing the things we were set to do?

Never heroic, never a model 
for us, or for anyone, she cowered 
and looked from the corner of her eye— 
“Et tu?” And it always meant we were 
with her, alas. No one else 
could find the center of the world.