New Poem: “word associations”

sofa: a place for a mother to lie and read,
dead to the world and me –
a place that speaks “pain” and “tired”
in words and in shifty eyes
you cannot catch – tested, tried –

kitchen: a place to sit still and eat
while pretending to be a family
with the distant woman who grinds her teeth
too proud to say she’s in pain
but not smart enough to hide it from me –

truth: a distant concept
never spoken between us, our only words
intended to keep the semblance of peace
so as not to make things worse – for her,
of course – an uneasy truce
designed and upheld by me –

consideration: always asked for
though i always thought it a given –
and that i gave and gave of it –
never enough – never enough –
and never returned or acknowledged
it went unnoticed – wasted – lost –

mother: a creature with power
to both give you life and to kill –
though the second is optional –
their love is not unconditional
whatever the poets say –
their actions speak for themselves.
mine said: “stay away”

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