The fact that your mother loves it
automatically makes you hate it:
her obsession for ironing underwear
and hankies and bed sheeets. She cared
whether or not you had a crisp crease
in your white panties. No matter
that it was invisible to everyone else.
Scrubbing the attic floor once a week
and the dishes five times a day
left time for nothing else, which suited
her just fine. And the fact that you
spent infinite hours composing term papers
and got a master's degree from some
uppity New England college that no one
in Ohio has heard of means nothing
to her. Who cares if you can read well
or write better? The window sills in your
house are still cluttered with dying
plants, dust, chipped porcelain.
No husband. She reminds you with every
refusal to come and check for herself.