Friday, February 7, 2014

At the sink

My  mother chops with fury
at her kitchen sink.

I stand beside her jabbering, So
if I’m 10 that means you and daddy 
were married 11 years ago! 

Her head swivels.

Stop that stupid talk!  

(I didn’t know the truth till later.) 

For this, indeed for all her odd 
mutations, I never blame myself. 
We come from different worlds.
Hers in ruins behind her, 
mine right here in front of her.

Still I do my best to please.
Bought her a little St Theresa,
(her favorite  saint) 
with my babysitting pay.

Oh how she hates Kool-Aid stains 
on my shirt, the sound of bubbles 
popping in my mouth, that immodest 
laugh I got from her,  how my hair 
sweats on my head like seaweed

Pull that hair off your face!

Once in a rage, she hacked it off.  
For weeks, I wore headscarves to school.

That’s what you get for being so American!

It wasn’t just her mood talking.
It was the old world singing in her then.