Poem on April 15
My mother talked to herself.
I remember listening in
from the hallway as she’d go on
and on as she was doing some
chore or another in her bedroom,
putting clothes away, tidying up,
dusting, cleaning the bathroom.
I rarely could make out what she
was saying, but mostly I could tell
it was serious. She took these
conversations very seriously.
I think what she was doing was
rehearsing conversations she’d
like to have, or weighing particular
decisions, talking her way through
various outcomes, or taking both
sides of the issue, exploring options.
She was her own devil’s advocate.
Was she ever caught in the act?
I think she was. I seem to remember
crossing her path in one of these
moments where she would be speaking
to no one in particular and I would
look at her kind of funny. There was
no self-consciousness about it.
She wasn’t embarrassed. She didn’t
apologize. And perhaps I looked at her
only kind of funny, because even as
a young boy, I knew it was something
we had in common. As a child, my older
siblings already out of the house,
my play was full of speech
to no one in particular, and today,
when I’m doing the dishes,
tidying up, cleaning the bathroom,
mowing the lawn, or just sitting
around, I will speak to no one
in particular, and almost always,
no one in particular will respond.