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Friday, April 30, 2010

Messages from Mama - © 1998 - Claudia Schlottman


Messages from Mama

An unsettled goose, the phone clangs.
The machine dutifully answers
each call, records each message.  Slurred
speech, garbled words slide into the 
quiet air, crowding, clouding it.

Fuddled, my mother claims neglect,
abandonment, alleges pains
belittled, overlooked, ignored,
says she can’t breathe, her heart won’t beat,
feebly searches her addled brain
for clues to where she is and why.

I hear confessions of antics,
scenes to earn attention.  I see
her strip naked, struggle to pull
the mattress from her bed, steer her
wheelchair down the hall, the stump--once
her leg--exposed, waving wildly.

More incomprehensible words
follow.  The air is thick with mum-
blings laced with strident demands:  drugs
for the pain, Kroger toothpaste, a
pen to replace the one they stole.
And I should bring them right away.
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