If it needed to be said- this poem is a work of fiction, featuring constructed characters. Any resemblance to persons living or dead etc. etc. I love my Mammy.
My mother never sang, but smirked
When the shaving-foam cantos floated from the bathroom
To nestle between the pages of her scientific journals and Sudoku puzzles.
Music followed my father.
It was a type of privilege, she said
To waste one’s air (wafting cilia, gaseous exchange) on something so frivolous.
Like wearing too much lipstick or showing emotion in the middle
Of a critical argument.
One dances for discipline, not grace
To straighten the spine (stand up straight), all five foot of you
One zero zero zero one zero one zero zero zero one one one…
Today her son, who had the notes and training
builds bridges and fighter planes
(To knock down other people’s bridges, I suppose)
I am a professional loafer, but one
Who’ll step on necks to get that meaningless quote.
Yet it is I who remembers
Bringing tea into that stuffy sick pus-yellow room
(that picture of Buddha, so benevolent beneath dusty glass)
On a warm day, with her beneath the covers
(Was she ever that small)
I think, possibly, can’t be certain
That I might understand
What it means, to waste one’s energy
(can never be created or destroyed only converted)
On wine bottles, for the Molotov cocktails
Necessary to break down these walls.