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.