Author's note: I wrote this piece during Spring 2007 when I was a student at Cal State Long Beach. I was taking a class in poetry, but it was a survey of poems already written – not a class in how to write it. I had recently changed my major from choral education (music) to creative writing (English), and a few days a week I would take my laptop and a notebook down to Borders and sit in the café, trying to write. One day when I was hand writing, this piece came out. It has gone through very small edits and remains in the same form as the original.
This poem is based on a true story, on a true person: my own mother.
She walks around the house,
nude except for a pair of latex gloves.
Nothing is clean.
Place a tissue on the television remote,
for what if the dirt touches
even the latex?
Newspapers are her lovers.
Old ones fill her living space -
narrow paths dissecting the endless piles.
1997, 1996, 1992 -
She will read them one day, she insists -
they are filled with priceless knowledge.
Let the dishes pile up,
until she eats with only plastic.
"Escalloped chicken with noodles" TV dinners
comprise her diet.
Swanson's was never meant
to be used in this manner.
Her husband and daughter
command her to change.
She refuses; they leave.
She is left alone in her nudity