At the Cemetery
I walk the grounds, read stones
with names from my mother’s
generation, Gladys, Florence, Arlene.
My mother isn’t dead. If she were,
she’d listen then.
Her concern no longer a boyfriend or husband
she’s trying to reconcile with or stay with
for the dresses, knickknacks, or booze. Not the one
who checked my homework, tore up
the paper, if one math problem was wrong
or one word misspelled. Not the one
who tickled me until urine ran down my leg
then laughed while I cried. Not the one
who threatened to kill my dog.
Screw them. Pretend Mother died,
lay a rose in front of a stone that’s worn,
trace the name with the tip of my finger,
pluck weeds, faded ribbons, limp stems,
as if I am that woman’s loving daughter,
as if I know what her life meant
while she was alive.
Friends have passed away:
Dave, Marcia, Paula, Kerry, Julie, Laura, Michael, Randy,
Places of former employment have closed:
- Salt Fish and Chips, Farmer’s Daughter, Tamary Management, Integra Bank
Hot air balloons made from dry cleaning bags, margaritas at Hacienda, Payday candy bars, drum solos, cat stories
I no longer have:
Thick hair, tight skin, firm muscles
I no longer am.
Robin Wright lives in Southern Indiana. Her work has appeared in The Literary Nest, Rune Bear, Event Horizon Magazine, Another Way Round, Ariel Chart, Bindweed Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review, Indiana Voice Journal, Peacock Journal,Rat’s Ass Review, and others. Two of her poems were published in the University of Southern Indiana’s 50th anniversary anthology, Time Present, Time Past. She was a finalist in Poetry Matters’ contest for the Spring Robinson/Mahogany Red Literary Prize.