When I say breakfast, I mean your hard-boiled
bruises draped in designer silk blouses,
I mean my first lacy bra, party dressing
in my grandmother’s bedroom, the way you
led me to my reflection, your lipstick
mouth saying beautiful, I mean you kept
your face in shadow at every meal,
I mean you starved after your husband died
of cancer, I mean you were light headed
for 20 years, I mean the boarding house
where your mother steeped tea on a hot plate,
carried a globe lamp from Baltimore
to Greensboro, I mean the way you claimed
it as payment for the year she left you
behind, I mean the oncoming food truck
that crushed you as you turned into the church
parking lot. When I say church, I mean prayers
to a breathing machine, the way you limped
from bed, re-breaking your ankles, I mean
the last thing you said, I just don’t feel good,
I mean your hungry children dusting for
each other’s fingerprints, I mean pancakes
in the common room on Easter Sunday,
the men who came every week to see you
pour coffee, listen to your hymnal voice.
I mean the choirs in your battered heart
as God set a full table before you.
Beth Gordon is a poet, mother and grandmother, currently landlocked in St. Louis, MO. Her poems have been published in numerous journals including Into the Void, Noble/Gas, Five:2:One, SWWIM, Verity La, Califragile, Pretty Owl Poetry and Yes Poetry. She is the author of the chapbook, Morning Walk with Dead Possum, Breakfast and Parallel Universe, published by Animal Heart Press. She is also Poetry Editor of Gone Lawn.
Painting by Floris van Schooten.