1941 - 2002
I Am My Mother’s Keeper
In the end, she lives in all our former homes at once.
My father is gone, destroyed by his own hand,
it ripples backward and forward, like
he was never there. He was never anywhere.
It’s just me and her.
In New York, she has cancer, tumors everywhere.
They grow on her back, strangle her spine,
kill nerves, paralyze. She can’t walk. She is in her bedroom,
upstairs. Mine is next door, with my toy box.
I bring her crackers, water, tea.
There’s not much I can do to help.
In Miami, she sleeps a lot. In the bed
with the purple velvet bedspread, the
curtains are drawn. Her dresser holds her clothes,
her jewelry sits on top, next to pictures of
her and my father. Her things.
In the same building, in the same unit:
#313. Just me and her. It always was.
In California, chemo, radiation make her sick.
She is in her bedroom at the back of the house.
She cries, I try to comfort her. Her head hurts.
She is wearing a fuzzy white robe that smells like
In central Florida, her wheelchair is next to the bed.
She wakes crying, asking for my father.
I have to sort her meds, give her these pills: