Sometimes, my golden headed mother
Sometimes, my golden headed mother woke
At noon, but mostly much, much later.
We paused at play, or lowered shredded wheat
From plastic spoons
To hear her steps and measure
Weight and gait, the silence
In the bathroom, and suppose
Who she would be today.
One by one she kicked
Two plastic bags down
Step by step
Filled with tissue, trash,
Her morning entrance;
Face lowered, flushed
And sweet with sleep,
Framed with straggling strands,
A brusque young girl,
Awoke to children
Somehow come out of her.
The cereal boxes she’d enlist
To build a bowl just like a nest,
Oat bran, corn flakes, and Chex,
Granola, raisins, more,
Slicing bananas with her thumb
Against the blade,
Pouring milk with heavy sigh
Until the mound was flooded.
Crunch, crunch, she’d chew her cud
And mull over her wrongs
In every bite.
Call us to sit after she slurped,
A glass of orange juice,
A cup of tea with heaping sugar,
Bring out and part the thick black book,
And rain down godly fire through doleful words.
Or down the staircase she would slide,
Strike poses, laughing, while she swooped,
Crying out good morning as she impacted
With a tiny end-stopped thud.
Watch this, watch this, and she would send
A vicious glance behind at him who wooed,
The hunchbacked king who killed her love,
And Lady Anne would mount the steps
Calling invectives down upon his head
Before succumbing to his golden tongue and gold.
I played this once, she whispered, scooping us into her arms,
Again our own, our golden headed mother.
They clapped for me. They knew it,
Knew that I was her.
She’d say, she made a choice that day,
She made a choice.
And smile and dance outside the kitchen door.