My mother spent
Months on our couch
In pursuit of relief
Never coming,

Eating nothing
But rice cakes with honey,

While staring at shows
From her youth –

Day after night
Watching sitcoms
Hearing laugh tracks
Constantly playing
Over bad jokes
Said by dead actors
Whose faces told more
Than I wished

About sadness
Hidden through grins
Shielding this truth
She admitted,

Spitting her food
Feeling nauseous
And reminding me life
Will get old,

Swearing soon
Such love falls apart
As time fades hope
Upon aging
When physical ills
Obscure passion
Since God appears rude
If you pray

Begging for health
Hardly better
During time lost home
Facing sickness
Out there
Set loose among dangers
Or inside these shells
All the same.

Leave soulless holes
Like that terrible meal
Lacking flavor,

Still savoring food
Missing substance

Long after those sutures
Have healed.

Perhaps surgery
Offers some glimpse
Of apparent faith
Fear induces,

Slowing hearts
To stop them entirely
While claiming a cure
May await –

How mom knew pain
Would endure,

Waking up,
Finding misery lingered

Despite false hope
Called “recovery”

Just prolonging tastes
Always bland.

  • J. Pigno

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