June Coleman Magrab
ARS POETICA ELEGY FOR MY MOTHER
Edith Coleman 1908-1980
I woke up smelling you,
you once or twice removed, damp and ugly, leaking blood from your lungs,
out your eyes, nose, mouth, even colouring your nails that fuck me red
Erika likes so much. Dad insisted
on driving us from the airport home; old man going
eighty miles an hour says, crazy people on the road today.
Ed yanked the wheel, I slept in your bed,
the kids played across the street, I returned
the prosthesis Dad said you had no chance
to wear. The clerk gave me two hundred dollars. Dad said keep half.
In eleven years I'll be the age you stopped, looking
the same to me forever. Do you know about dad's stupid remarriage
to fat Greta. Knew he'd never make it alone.
He knew it, you knew it, but I didn't believe it till I saw her
thighs one morning when they visited us. She inched her gown up,
all four foot ten 175 pounds, playing sexpot
with my old man, your old man, eighty-year-old woman, cow who said
you don't have to call me mom, dear. Boy was she fat. That's how I knew
he'd lost his mind. Lifetime aversion to fat. Guess it bought him something,
a year, maybe two, before she said take him, what do I need with an ailing geezer?
I can't stop talking about dad, that idiot Greta,
her fat ass leaving pee stains wherever she sat.
This is no proper elegy for anyone.
Date of Birth:
June 29, 1940
New York Quarterly, Oxford Magazine, The Sun, Caprice, Prosodia, Stirring, etc.
Fellow at the MacDowell Colony (1995 and 1997) and at the Virginia Center For The Creative Arts (1996). Participant in the Frost Place Poetry Festival (1992-2001). Awarded a writer's grant from the Vermont Studio Center (1997)
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