Tamara Burross

Brunch with Mother


My moth­er col­lects rocks.

She has them by the bucket

Outside her cab­in, by her collection

Of emp­ty glass magnums.

She places them care­ful­ly side by side,

In a pat­tern, over the course of months,

So she won’t have to mow

Her tiny patch of lawn.

She reminds me of this

As we go.


October trees blur into flam­ing evergreens;

My moth­er stares out the car window.

We get out with­out speaking;

The trem­bling embers

Of each leaf

Burn slow in the breeze.


We eat brunch under the blaz­ing Chestnut,

Slicing bits of cap­pi­co­la and

Wedges of Brie,

And after, we pull

the ther­mal carafe and cups

From the bag

And pour coffee.


We sip as fiery birch leaves flit past,

Watch the conflagration

of a hill­side beech. She says

She hates fall because

It reminds her of

The com­ing cold. She says

Do not ever depend

On a man. She says do not live

To be old.


When she gets drunk and angry she reminds me

That I am not wel­come at her funeral.

It’s as if she believes that’s the only party

That might ever be thrown for her,

And as if it’s the only thing over which

She might even indirectly

Have some control.



Tamara Burross is a stu­dent of English Literature.