My mother, a bleacher of bloodstained
sheets, bleaches my dreams the color of bones,
and feeds me on snakes and dirty slate stones.
She winces each time I walk through the door,
a mere apparition (though we’ve done this before.)
She blinks at the angles of my newly-formed hips
and her voice sounds strangled through
thin pressed lips.
“He did this because he was stressed at work;
if you turn your head
if you concentrate hard
our skeletons will stay buried in our own backyard.”
Oh! See how dust motes stir in my wake
(and mother just Pledged, for Heaven’s sake!)
Don’t pick at your scabs
Don’t stand pigeon-toed
Don’t ask for answers to questions you’ve no right to know.
O, wicked child so much in the way
Nothing but underfoot night and day.
Can’t you see that your visibility
makes mother suspect her accountability?
But others decide the sting of my fate!
The slant of my head and the tread of my feet—
and mother’s bleaching my blood from her snowy white sheets.
Another fine mess for mother to scour
And look at the time! Another lost hour!
She sends me to scrub my stepdad’s back.
Robotically I do as I’m told:
mother look at me! Obedient am I, as good as gold.
(O see her brow pucker
in matronly frustration;
the very sight of me has ruined
her housewifely concentration.)
I’ve gone far away so far from myself
and live on old bones and the most cunning of stealth.
I’ve perfected the art of tip-toeing on my Flintstoned feet . . .
and mother is bleaching my blood from her snowy-white sheets.