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She served clichés like some mothers offered cake—
the hackneyed phrase edged right on through;
I still can hear her say—
just sowing his wild oats, as though that could excuse
the wrong. She’d drop us and our worries in
the drab room of generic phrase, and disappear—
the early bird, the dead horse beaten,
the leopard spots, those walls with ears.
Did she believe—she did, I think— the right
cliché could save us, help us not to feel
alone, so many bees in that same hive—
spilt milk, sow’s ear, Achilles heel.
I miss them now that she is frail.
Her words these days, so spare, plain.
Copyright 2018 Sally Bliumis-Dunn. From Echolocation (Plume Editions/MadHat Press, 2018)