My mother’s heavy shuffle follows me
around the house. She talks, but I hardly
ever listen anymore—what time the school bus
came for the neighborhood children, how many
crickets are poisoned in the garage.
The doctors say MS does not annul the brain, only
tenuously wears the body down—slow, efficient.
But, what else apart from a brain that cannot breathe
would make her think I’d want to know
about Pat Sajak’s haircut or the woman in the store
buying 13 honeydews?
She’s telling a story right now—probably to my father
in the kitchen seated on the wicker chair. A story about when
I fell under ice in the pond. But, this story didn’t happen to me.
She is trying to tell a story about me. But it didn’t happen.
She stays inside me because I cannot bear to be without her sounds.
She is telling a story. She’s glorious even when broken.
Katy Richey’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rattle, Fjords Review, Origins, Little Patuxent Review, Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology and other journals. She is the recipient of a 2015 Fine Arts Work Center Walker Scholarship and a 2014 Maryland State Arts Council individual artist award for poetry. She is a Cave Canem and Callaloo fellow and a Breadloaf Writers’ Conference contributor. She co-edited the February 2011 issue of Beltway Poetry Quarterly: A Tribute to Langston Hughes and is the current host of the Sunday Kind of Love reading series open mic at Busboys and Poets in Washington D.C., sponsored by Split This Rock Poetry Festival.