I do not spend a lot
of time thinking
by Ester Bloom
I do not spend a lot of time thinking
what would happen
if something happened to my mother.
She is practical and careful, eats to maintain
her 108 pounds, has lived in
Oklahoma and San Francisco,
was robbed once while she slept (at least the thief
couldn’t take her water bed), was kicked off
an Indian reservation for pissing off
a princess, had to lodge with nuns. She had dogs
but no health insurance: when she walked across town
to the hospital, holding the one hand split open like a melon
in the other, all they gave her was a paper towel.
A nicer hospital, later, offered a rabies shot. Never interrupt
a dog fight, she taught me. Okay.
Also, she was hit by a drunk driver
on the fourth of July. She survived.
So I never think, What if something happened to my mother?
But what if something did? The house would collapse
in on itself, for starters. The dog she rescued from Vermont
would lose the will to chew rawhide
off my father’s statues or bark maniacally
at the deserted street. He jumped out the window once
he would do it again. Event-like dinners would go uncooked,
unspooned out onto china. My father would lose his teeth
and never find them. The government,
where she landed eventually the way an astronaut
might (“oh …”) find herself in Nebraska, would fail.
My Monet project from 1991 would retroactively disintegrate and
I would flunk fourth grade.
I never spend a lot of time thinking
what would happen if something happened
to my father? Because things happen
to my father all the time: he has gout,
he had a heart attack, he is almost bald
but still has dandruff. He has a paunch, a fake
front tooth, and a bridge besides which once he found
in his pocket next to a peach pit. His father died
his mother died his sister died his uncle
died, the one with the hummingbirds; his two aunts died
without ever making it over 5 feet tall; his brother is a hunchback
who never married. When Reagan was elected he had to quit
the job he loved and he has had to suffer
through Republicans intermittently since. He says, “Never marry a short
woman,” but he did. So I do not spend a lot of time thinking,
What would happen if something happened
to my father? Something happens to my father every morning
before breakfast: he reads two newspapers and never finds his name.
by Ester Bloom
I will be a stout and blissful seventy,
with a stomach like a cushion
for my breasts, sturdy legs to walk me
round the zoo,
with a dotted hand on a
doting man for support. He
will make me laugh across tables
in posh restaurants, accompany me
to cinemas, introduce me
to mountains, watch with me retreating snow
reveal mirrors, and listen to birds
dislodging shards of song from their throats.
Maybe, by the time I’m old,
science will have found a way
for women to give birth
so I can have some: company
and audience: we’ll eat packaged cookies
together and I’ll tell stories
to their mesmer-eyes
like of my affair with the president
who had me write on him
with fountain pens and had to explain
to the premier of Cameroon
why “fleetingly fascinating”
circled his wrist. Perhaps
my grandchildren, inspired,
will inscribe each other
and display themselves. As they’ll have
no mother to chide them to wash,
perhaps the ink
will never come off.
New Yorker Ester Bloom is a recipient of the Lois Morrell Prize for
Poetry. Some of her poems have previously appeared in Conte: A
Journal of Narrative Poetry, Words Dance, and Poet Lore. She
recently took time off from the entertainment industry to write a novel
about the entertainment industry, and she continues to blog happily
away at http://babblebook.blogspot.com.
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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 1, Number 2
Copyright © 2006
by Leah Browning, Editor.
All future rights to material
published in the Apple
Valley Review are retained
by the individual authors