the spot on the wall

part two

For breakfast Monday morning
I cook my daughter oatmeal
perfect ratio of salt to sugar to oats
served with teaspoon, splash of cream
because I am a bad mother
out of milk since Friday.

I scrub the teakettle shiny again
detail the gas stove’s nooks
hose down the sticky laminate
and bad wife guilt and shame
for this dirty house
its understocked larder.

I break down at the supermarket
cartful of milk and cheese
paused beyond the baby food
asking the floor what a good mom
would have done these twelve years
four months and seven days.

A large kitchen picture hides
the haphazard hashes of inches
random intervals from toddler to ‘tween
whenever I looked up mid-preoccupation
to notice her size and breadth and depth
the bigness of will and spirit.

Sometimes I pull the picture down
and stare at months of marks
wonder what we did that day and why
I put her back against that wall
and whether she was happy then
and whether we had milk.

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  1. leedav June 3, 2010 at 9:26 pm #

    Love your poetry.

  2. jodi June 4, 2010 at 1:39 pm #


  3. Kim Hosey June 4, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

    You're so good at this.

  4. jennifer könig June 5, 2010 at 2:18 am #

    love the cadence here. nicely edited. 🙂

  5. jo(e) June 16, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    Oh, I love what you capture here.

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