By Ruth Bardon
Feature image: L’Armoire à Glace, 1924 by Walter Richard Sickert

She is ignorant and admits to being
easily confused.

She tells her jokes with a cheerfulness
that shows how lost she is.

I want to help her and teach her how
the world works,

and I love this feeling of knowing
so much more,

but it also makes me hate her
a little more each time,

each time she admits she’s having trouble,
is helpless to assist,

like a mother of grown children,
who see her now

as someone who offers only facts
from the news,

a weather report or a small repertoire
of songs and stories,

like the mother I may become,
sitting and nodding

as if I understood the talk,
chiming in

and coming to attention
when my name is spoken.

Ruth Bardon lives in Durham, North Carolina. Her poems have appeared in Boulevard, The Cincinnati Review, Salamander, The Chattahoochee Review, The Comstock Review, and elsewhere, and her chapbook, Demon Barber, was published in 2020 by Main Street Rag. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop and a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Feature image: Image released under  Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported) Photo © Tate

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