Honor thy father and thy mother

You told me since I was a little girl

But Daddy was long gone and Mama

Was hardly ever there.


She was made from dish soap and of

Cracked egg timers that never stopped.

Tummy band stretched like the yawn

Her mouth was permanently set in for

25 years, mouth with her lips as

Ripe as an orange

Almost gone mushy but still

Lips pursed in a tight blossom

That mysteriously never seemed to open

But to screech its woes like silverware on a bare plate.


Why do you worry so? I ask her.

It’s my job to, she replies.


At night I listen to her snore like

Water drips from a faucet.

During the day I watch her foot

Tap out the same rhythm on the cold white linoleum.

Mama never breathes without this rhythm

The day she forgot it was the day she up and died.


So I am left to live only with this tap tap tap

And this question of who was this creature

Who let me eat her body away and

Told me never to forget this rhythm

Or my egg timers or the Dawn

That kept her alive.