Thursday, December 01, 2011

Excavations In a Used Bookstore-- Part VII

Well, there were cozy mornings; three of us
snuggled together in bed
with my arm stretched across, held carefully
away from embarrassing parts
but even then, before I got too old
I much preferred the babysitter's house

and when my mother proudly told me
she'd be quitting work to take care of me
I argued the best I knew how
but knew I would never be asked
whether I wanted motherly services.

I was a sickly child, she believed;
I may have been wrong, to think
she much preferred me sick, and suitable
for mother medical potions and performances;
she'd had this early childhood trauma
with my childhood; I almost died
or so I heard. All I know
is the memory of a hospital bed
and missing them. (I must
have been quite young.)

Now, when I visit
and try to talk
she busies herself;
the only way
she knows to deal with people
is to do them things; she can't
just talk with anyone.

Well, my father had these fine historical speeches
he'd saved up for a small audience
and I really did enjoy listening
until my mother deftly interposed a dinner
and the family taboo on heavy subjects
especially while eating, when arguments
might lie in the stomach like dumplings

while anything over her head
must cease so she could play
gracious concerned mother serving supper--
her of the aches and terrible pains
hobbling about her duty of not complaining
performing unasked, unwanted services
for which forever I must be ungrateful

for I was a terrible child, constantly
saying things I think were true, although unkind;
these things were neither punished
nor answered. (The poor child
must not have been feeling well.)--
inexorable the course of motherly treatments

I am still in the hospital bed
and no one hears me.

Well, that's a minor thing, a few tears,
a few years; things are good
in the store; only the history books are skeptical

and my father writes: "You'd better stop
acting so much the nut
or I'll cut you off."
What else is new?

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