Momma wore a slouch behind her saddlebag breasts
and had painted on eyes like a doll, or a demon.
All the lights in Hades couldn’t set sparks to her coat tails
as she scratched lines in the walls of the garden of Eden.
She was alive, clinging to memory like a cornered animal.
All the time Alzheimers ate at her,
replacing me with the television hosts she spent more time with.
Confusing my face with Ed Sullivan.
Turning me into Johnny Carson when the lights were dim.
A once white muumuu hung onto her body
and carried stains from a hoard of TV dinners.
She had plastic covers on the couch to protect you from feeling comfortable
and a sea of brown shag carpet that made your feet itch through your shoes
just by looking at it.
Momma, she’d chameleon herself into the chair
directly in front of the television sitting on stilts.
When she’d see me, she’d smile revealing her ever greying teeth
beneath exposed roots.
And I would perform a fake smile that made my cheeks hurt so bad
I’d have to rub my jaw when she wasn’t looking.
She was old then, and kicking harder still,
Pall Malls and all.
Because she deserved it,
every good thing.
every gold star,
all the redemption that could ever be.