My Mother is Afraid, Mostly, of Being Alone

Jackie Chicalese

so she sings as she cooks a breakfast
of bacon, toast, & eggs— 

Visiting in the summertime,
my love & I strip
& wash the guestroom bedding, hang to dry

Something inside my mother is always ticking

When my father doesn’t eat, her throat hitches
The yolks sunny our plates

My mother watches my father thin
like a comet’s tail,
has nightmares
about the soft love earth makes
to a casket

I am writing myself 
into the mother of this poem

On the line, the sheets billow like lungs.