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Thinking, she called it, vein-eyed,
my mother trying to find the extention cord
for the hot plate, our gas shut off in January
again. The backs of her hands wet,
dragging back just-silvering hair. That year,
someone bought us our first phone, weighty, black,
and it rang when the person thinking of her
was my father, after drinking.
At twenty-seven, I could be my mother then,
her third child, me, new-born, too young
to know this much or to attach
the wires that would make it
make sense. Neither of them, I'm home, feeling for my light
switch. Another bulb has blown out on me.
I refuse to cry about it
or let the man downstairs
get out of his car and come up with me to help
or to kiss the backs of my hands. Lack
of sleep takes me to the windows the dawn
is trying. I move quickly,
making paper blinds for the morning.