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.

Close Menu