I see in her mottled skin
of dishwater pain,
The desperately overturned
stripped bare of our lunch money.
Here in the crispest of mornings
lies purpose- in oatmeal, in Praise the Lord,
in sitting still while the tea boils;
Here in the emptiness of my third grade,
she is free to be trapped in polyester,
free to consider all the worlds
her hands have had to make from scratch.
(He is a forgetful bastard this morning,
all caught up in his steering gears
without a drop of change.)
So this is what warmth can be,
as we huddle by the gas oven for heat,
and stare holes through the blue flames.
She is not my mother this morning-
She is a scalloped-skinned mutt,
carefully trampling down the circles
where she may find tea-stained redemption.
I would tell you more,
but sometimes yellow
trucks stop by,
to rescue small children
from all matters human.
by Michael Pollick
Editor’s Note: This poem’s imagery is fractured, and this emphasizes the disturbing home life of the narrator, a child. Memory, too, is often fractured, but trauma tends to linger.