After her husband left and her mother passed
there were more nights where I tucked
her in instead of the other way around.
More nights where I put her wine away,
I ashed her cigarette and I turned David Gray
down or the TV off. Some nights
I checked her pulse. The article
listed the animals
that practice what we call monogamy
or normalcy, but I saw only a few
birds: a bald eagle, a black vulture.
There were only a few
mammals: a gray wolf, a beaver.
It occurred to me to reconsider her.
Maybe my mom
wasn’t like other moms
and maybe she wasn’t like me or like you.
I’d known her to be a lot of things
but never an eagle
and only booze made her a vulture.
She was no wolf
and no beaver
and despite her best effort,
could be no housewife either.