By Jim Daniels
Featured Image: “The Child’s Bath” by Mary Cassatt
My mother rolls her walker through the rug
like pushing a dull reel mower through high grass.
She cannot see, so maybe the simile should be sound instead—
like bad jokes from a dull boor. The brittle thread of escape
snapped long ago, sewing kit trashed, needles only and constant
from pain—knee/back/hip. Blurry edges of God rim
her miraged vision. She burns a sandwich on the grill
but not herself—thrill enough to earn a pill. Today
she’s skipping church, and it’s just next door. She calls me
from the kitchen to carry her cup back to her chair—no free
hands. She must watch where she lands when it’s all freefall
and whiffs of Jesus not happy with her. I’m a tourist
with a bad map. She’s a local with time. She waves her hand
as she talks, one graceful thing. She flirts with air.
Jim Daniels is the author of many books of poems, including, most recently, Rowing Inland and Street Calligraphy. His sixth book of fiction, The Perp Walk, was published by Michigan State University Press in 2019, along with the anthology he edited with M.L. Liebler, RESPECT: The Poetry of Detroit Music. A native of Detroit, he currently lives in Pittsburgh.
Originally appeared in NOR 11.