Conversations with Mother

I stop at my mom’s on my way home from work

bringing her dinner each night. As we eat

Hmm, good cooks use more salt. Then

Come here. I have something to show you.

She opens her closet door. This dress

I want to wear this dress in my casket.

I wonder if there is something I should know.

My brain was programmed for 75 . . . I’m 82.

I spend Saturdays with my mom. She tells me, again,

the convoluted story of my sister’s birth — feet first 

the wrong way and maybe she had a Caesarian,

so much blood . . . a hysterectomy . . .

and that’s why I had a nervous breakdown.

She adds, I cancelled Better Homes and Gardens

I told them I won’t live for the whole year so

I asked them to send my money back.

I relieve the women we hired to provide daycare.

We pay her the going rate, but it isn’t much.

She sits and watches TV while Mom putters.

I spend the evening cooking, hiding stove knobs,

cleaning up spills, washing the laundry, coaxing

her our of the six or seven dresses she has on,

steering her into the bath. Help! She’s hurting me!

She tells my brother, That women is stealing money.

I visit my mother in the nursing home every day.

She doesn’t seem to know me although she 

claps with joy when Sergio comes in to sing.

I talk about grandchildren she doesn’t remember,

great grandchildren she never even knew.

I push her in her wheelchair and we sit outside.

She listens to music. eats vanilla ice cream

Conversation fades, fades until it is gone.

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