Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Cottage cheese & barbed wire 

For 90 years every year she called me 
an idiot. 
They call her my mother. 

We all came to the family reunion house 
to celebrate her birthday. 
The 90th one in a row. I shouldn't have 
been there but I promised myself 
I was gonna give as good as I
don't get. 

At the party they saw a nice old
round perfumy woman. 

I saw something staring and hating. 
Not even a person anymore, maybe a non-person.
A mound of old cottage cheese slid out of 
it's crusted brown plastic past it's expiration 
date but sitting there
with eyes glowing dull, mean 
like electrified barbed wire but
of a very low current.

Later the family all familied-away 
toward motels and airports
laughing, hugging, connecting 
going for meaningful and taking pictures of it,
and then it was just us - mother and son
we were alone.

The mother looked around at
everybody gone and then at me
and said, "Oh, it's just you." 

I drove her back to her nursing home
helped her out of the car
across the parking lot
past the smiling front desk
down the darkening hall and tucked her in,
wished her a happy birthday
of course,
and when I did something else
like, say I love you 
the barbed wire current flickered
even duller. 

I turned out 
her light and began 
to glow in the dark. 

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