Empty Nest

I am not sure it is my mother on the phone
she coughs with her whole body
once every two minutes –
that is something I can know.
Perhaps she has been replaced
a flat-footed broad-faced plague of a woman
tendons in her neck
cresting like sea sick swells
and a mouthful of Halls
sucking medicine cherry
as she would aerate a dark red wine
through her cavern mouth
the pitch of her affirmations rise as they
approach the quiet
her sentences even question themselves
things a mother does not wonder
a salt-and-peppered productively ambiguous oracle of a being
accomplished at compartmentalizing she
swallows the bullshit of round bellied men
summer linens and
chlorine sticks from the pool shed.








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