the king edward apartment

i miss you.
over worked matriarch of truth.

solemn queen from my youth.
who’s brisk moves on crumbling feet
creating light sweet arabesques
harmoniously grooving our family nest,
has swept me away to infinity.
i miss you.

you were my ballet goddess,
nijinsky princess, prima ballerina,
swan empress, true cinderella,
born for the mariinsky theatre.

you would remain at the theatre
long after the last janitor has left,
staying up past lonely midnights
dissolving those annoyances away,
the corns, bunions and calluses,
in hot running bathtub water
throughout your husband less years,
and my fatherless tears.

after one grueling solo performance
after another,
of a thousand pirouette dances,
you kept on surviving final acts
of a single mom’s self defeat
to raise a better me.

for me to become that,
you had choreographed
tender chassé errands
to the local grocery store
picking up cold cuts
and american cheese
on iou’s, every week.

forced attitudes, improvised pleads
that you and i, the nearly-poor,
prolonged our store credit some more,
all the while
displaying your pliés free of sickling,
kissing the pharmacists hand,
how the uninsured made a stand,
asking humbly demanding
discounted medicine.

indebted to pristine virtuoso lifts,
ballons off the floor,
you prayed for us
to make it another day more.
another winter.
effortless allegro steps you danced,
allowed me access to all of life’s
placebo of wealth and finesse.

it made me feel like a millionaire,
this shelf life of financial security:
free grammar school hot lunch,
government issued food stamps,
babysitters until dinner time,
moonlighting necessities,
the kindness of strange men,
cigar infused catholic prayers.

but your graceful precise blueprint,
empowered me with priceless skills of kindness.

how you claimed yourself ultimate forgiver
to all that mattered,
even your husband the dad deserter.

my south american mother.
i miss you.

your porcelain filled laughs,
noble, soulful for my behalf.
never shed a stoic grin.
always still and secure,
it was a resting place for all my worldly sins,
my brief escape from poverty and grief.
a haven where the south american
working class temporarily wins.

except, why did you decline
the notoriety and fame?
rejected my desire to make you a saint.

you delicate woman of selfless creed,
who only wanted all just to be safe, secure and sane.
god, i traveled centuries looking for you in vain,

a mother, a human being human,
compassionate, empathetic
made integrity my only asset.

a mother who quenched my thirst
with tang diluted in faucet water.

a mother who warmed up
my chicken stew with rice.

a mother who half asleep
in a half lit living room
waited for me to come home
weekend nights.

a mother who failed to remove
those crinkly kitchen waterbugs
with roach spray and motels.

a mother who made me
sanka and buttered toast
every sunday morning.

a mother i’d always awake to
and find snoring, half asleep in her living room bed
a folding metal cot, that gave bad posture
from years of sleep discomfort.

a mother who evoked pleasant nights
safe mornings.

an unconditional mother
who provided me a home,
for my adolescent ways
in those unfortunate stumbling

never would i have wanted it any other way.
i miss you.

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