MY MOTHER
SAYS GOODBY
To THE HOUSE

to rooms she
wanted to fix
up before she
died, goodby
to the blue sofa
a cat peed on
in 1944 or 45
and Clorox
bleached. It
was covered
but never re-
covered, a word
that’s charged,
as most words
these last 4
weeks are. My
mother unhooks
the cable. She
leaves bags
from Brooks
full of kleenex,
a closet of
Dove soap, on
her bed unopened
presents.

 

IN MY MOTHER’S
BEDROOM

with the lights off
in the living room
the shades moving
from the first breeze
in eleven days
and the door shut so
the cat doesn’t eat
needles or ash
“here take this mirror”
my mother says    pulling
open a drawer before
the huge mirror
I’d sit before studying
my legs    studying
the first swell of
nipples    I always stand
here with my skirt
raised when I come
home    my mother combing
my hair as I sat
on the same hassock
before its top was
replaced with blue cloth
my hair just as curly
as hers then    years
before I would have a
hair like the one
she doesn’t want    on
the same place on
my chin as hers is