Mental Breakdown


When I asked my mother if I could store
some bags in the downstairs bedroom,
she took two life jackets off the bed
and stormed upstairs. When I asked her
what she was doing, she said, I’m trying
to regain a piece of my life back.

I half expected to see her in the woods,
unearthing the canoe to sail across the lawn,
not returning until the sky got dark
and we all were hungry, nibbling
Ritz crackers and chocolate bars,
waiting for manna to drop on our plates —

But she goes to her room and watches
DVDs in bed, sleeping while it’s light out.
The life jackets are on the floor, beside
two paddles for the canoe. She says
she wants the room downstairs for guests
but all I see are immovable boxes

of windows and floorboards, waiting
for a room that will never be built.
She tells me she is sorry for the way
she acted, that I can put my bags down there
for now, that tomorrow we will find
another place. It is a place she dreams of.