With my mother gone 

I’ve forgotten everything she taught me.


I left the back door unlocked all night

so anyone could just walk in.


I left the key in the lock outside

just to make it easier.


I locked the car keys

inside the car.


I don’t do the dishes right after dinner

or the morning after that.


“A person who does not do the dishes right after dinner,”

she told me, “Is a slob.”


I am a slob without her,

a slug


a shapeless mass of guts

a hunger.


I don’t brush my teeth,

don’t get up in time for class.


I cross the street without looking both ways.

I know what happens to people who do that;


They get squashed, run over flat.

My mother told me.


I’ve been

run over.


I’m a rolled-out pie crust

heavy and dull, as lard.


Words escape me…

like bubbles leaving tonic flat.


I can’t get them back.

I am unable to speak like a civilized person.


I am uncivilized

as I was before she shaped me.
















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