Dying is my mother’s last ruse, an empty saucepan
she gongs to get us to the table.
We’re adult children, not starved for each other,
just dieting, stingy with July 4th weekend,
time on the phone. We sip from bowls of steam, share
common knowledge like the bareness of cupboards
in stories, how we liked the canned stuff better,
how she cross-examined the wooden spoon
with her tongue, always putting an oar
in something else. She’s the main character,
a rock sitting in a stream, the stream a list
of what to fetch as she brings each juggled pot
to a boil, everyone on their toes
peering in, the water like little mouths.
David Moolten’s most recent book, Primitive Mood, won the T.S. Eliot Prize from Truman State University Press and was published in 2009. He’s a physician specializing in transfusion medicine, and lives, writes and practices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.