Alan Walowitz is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual. His chapbook, Exactly Like Love, comes from Osedax Press. The full-length, The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems, is available from Truth Serum Press. Most recently, from Arroyo Seco Press, is the chapbook In the Muddle of the Night, written trans-continentally with poet Betsy Mars.
Though she was known to nap after breakfast,
my mom would wake in time to see me
sitting in the wing chair, and demand,
Where did you fly in from?
Superman, I’d say–
I came through the window.
And she’d laugh that half-bitter laugh
I knew by heart, having learned at her knee.
She’d reach for the coffee I brought, one hand shaking
and try to steady it with the other,
pick at the obligatory sweet roll and nod off again.
Alma, her aide, would say to me then,
Wise guy. Why you so early?
Come later when she’s mean and pinches me.
My mother would never, I tell her.
Come 4 o’clock. You’ll see—
and she shows me the red mark
on her arm from yesterday.
I avert my eyes and go to the window
where I flew in, and assure everyone–
even those who have nodded off again–
I’ll fly back in the morning to see.
Sometimes–even years later–
she seems surprised to come upon me,
whether I’m rummaging through the fridge
in search of something to clog my heart,
or lying in bed attempting, again,
to meditate my way toward sanity.
Or I stare into space for hours at a time
ignoring the cat’s incessant yowls,
as I’ve learned to do quite well.
Oh, she startles, I didn’t know you were here.
This is where I live, I always tell her.
I know, she says,
though never fully convinced.