To My Caring and Worried Mother
There are sliced carrots in the shape of a cowbell,
because I understand
that great food should sing to you.
There’s a movie we’ve never seen before
and a Japanese instruction manual.
There’s a novel about Alzheimer’s
and some magic memory pills for your mother.
There’s an automatic food dispenser
so you don’t have to bend down to feed the dogs anymore.
There’s a travel bag with a Bible
and a plane ticket to Paris.
There’s a color-coded flow chart
describing the best way to carry a conversation with Grandma.
In the bottom right hand corner, in fine print, it explains
you may have to adopt new tactics on the fly.
I caught Grandma watching
The Hulk in Spanish today.
I just flipped to the English version.
To my caring and worried mother:
raising your voice won’t help,
there is no cure.
All the Post-It notes
on all the cabinets
should say: open with caution,
eat with intensity,
we love you
and we’ll help you
find the watch
you stuffed in the cookie jar.
nuzzles the back of my hand
as if the damp home of its nose
could stand not one more dark
second of this unfettered freeze.
What of it,
she asks after we’ve had our hot
meat and stale versions of drug,
sitting in lotus pose
facing my grandfather’s headstone
where every engraved sentence
curved tinsel of truth
into the steaming mouth of myth.
This barrel-bellied man
made a small southern town
seem like a place God had visited
and forgot to bless.
He was that damn bold,