My mother when company comes

speaks to me in bursts and gusts of unfinished thoughts,
leaves me guessing as I try to plug in a missing noun or a verb.
Holds the phone like a microphone so others can speak,
then hangs up without saying goodbye.
She hasn’t spoken to me in full sentences in weeks
and when she does it’s to tell me to come meet at the mall,
meet at the store. She always tells me to come and I do,
though I start to feel the kaleidoscope-spin of so much rushing.
My mother impatiently twiddles her thumbs in the car,
fiddles with her notebook where she lists appointments in a script
I used to forge at school. My mother’s eyes shift.
Out in the yard, my mother breathes into cupped hands,
busies herself with weeds, collects fallen sticks, huffs a spume
of white air. She eyes the horizon—a reminder.
I never could finish my mother’s sentences.

Esther Sadoff is a teacher and writer from Columbus, Ohio. Her poems have been featured or are forthcoming in Little Patuxent ReviewJet Fuel ReviewCathexis Poetry NorthwestPidgeonholes, Santa Clara ReviewSouth Florida Poetry Journal, among others.

Appears In

Issue 18

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