watching a thousanmd deaths 1962

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: April 11, 2016

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Submitted: April 11, 2016

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Sheila enters the kitchen
where her mother is
at the stove cooking.

You've still got
that muck around your eyes,
get it off I said, her mother says,
first words, eyeing her.

I will, Sheila says,
what did you want me for?
Ella said you wanted me.

Her mother studies her
for few seconds.

O yes, Ella said
something about you
seeing a boy at school,
what boy is this,
and why are you
seeing a boy,
and at your age?
Her mother says,
standing hands on hips,
eyes peering as if
they were hooks
to reel in the truth
from Sheila's head.

Just a boy I was talking with,
that's all, no big deal,
Sheila says.

I'll tell you if it's a big deal,
as you call it,
and besides Ella said
you were sitting
on the grass with him;
I hope you are not
up to something, my girl,
I won't have it,
her mother says.

We just talked,
and what do you
mean up to something?
What something
do you mean?
Sheila says,
her voice rising
a bit above
her normal level.

Don't you raise your
voice to me, young girl,
or we will be having words,
her mother says,
her voice louder than usual.

We are having words,
Sheila says, anyway,
I was just talking to him,
nothing else, despite
what that holy bitch, Ella says.

Her mother peers down at her,
her hand ready to slap
Sheila's face, she takes
a huge intake of breath,
then sits down in one
of the nearby chairs,
and holds her breast,
and looks at Sheila.

My asthma, don't get me
wound up, now go
wash that muck off,
and don't answer back,
and leave boys alone
until you are old enough
to handle them.

Her mother sits back,
and closes her eyes.

Sheila stands there worriedly.

Sorry you get you riled,
and shall I get your
asthma mask?
Sheila says.

Her mother nods,
and puts her hands
on her knees.

Sheila brings the mask,
and gives it to her mother,
then stands watching
her put the mask on,
and take deep breathes;
she's seen it all before,
like watching
a thousand deaths.


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