Stirring : A Literary Collection

Michelle Cameron


My sister says my mother killed herself.
The signs were all there:
the voice over the phone line
strangely calm, serene,
an intent casting off,
cleaning out my old dolls boxed and ready for me
to carry home -- "they just
gather dust," said flatly when
I pointed to my sons and shrugged --

and the problems that death solved! No old age home
for her, no forced visits from childrenís children,
wrinkling their noses at the stale smells
rising from some Centerís narrow pile carpet -- so kind to walkers --
no children whose shit she had wiped away,
whose faces scrubbed, whose knees once bandaged,
plucking hairs out of her quaking chin or muttering
excuses for eccentricies to strangers,
no one casting eyes up to the ceiling
when she trotted some crack-brained scheme --

death ten times better than any no-fault policy! A kinder end
than hesitant attention, better than love dribbled
with forced smiles, stiff hands,
cooling hearts -- death so clearly the solution to push
past indifference, leaving
the ones she wanted to always love her,

themselves forever wanting
just a few years more.

Location: Chatham, New Jersey
Publications: Riding the Meridian, Niederngasse, Mentress Moon, Comrades, 3rd Muse, 2River View, Atomicpetals, Comrades Anthology 2001, So Dark So Deep, Verse Libre, the Paterson Literary Review

Stirring : A Literary Collection

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