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remains: mother’s birthplace the answer remains: Detroit my birthplace too. My mother’s remains sit in a box on her closet floor in Detroit. User i.d./password/security question/ to get into my account. My father’s saving money by waiting to die so they only have to open up the mausoleum once for both of them. The closet in her room remains as she left it clothes losing their dark interest. Ghosts in the dust. No one picking outfits for the blind lady anymore. Every time I log in, I remember her offering money every time I saw her near the end in case I needed it for something special. Though she had none to give. I’d exchange looks with my father or hand gestures above her sleek black wheelchair. I like songs that build into a frenzy my mother never forgot the old hymns or the man who abused her as a child spilling the beans before she died spilling her Dad’s Root Beer her last addiction. So what if it made her pee into her De-Pends? If you’re a sissy you can leave now take the rattling bag of recyclables to the curb on your way out. Hey Mom, tell Dad to let us bury you now, or do you like the smell of your old dresses and coats as much as I do. We never figured out how to get your talking watch to shut up. I’m logging in— Detroit—see how much/little I’ve saved for this rainy day? Who could have predicted this weather? Anyone want some blind lady’s clothes? A little too bright for anyone with sight. They lit up the darkness of her fading memory her ashes in my box of passwords. We can’t be too careful with our dead. She lived on the short end of the stick and she never had a password in her life. I want to change my security question or the truth, or our place of birth. Cold down in that closet heater vents flipped closed no password for the crypt I will change my security question to the city in which I was born. Will the bank notice, tell me I can’t change it to what it already is? Where is my mother’s change purse the one that looked like a flower and bloomed with silver and copper her careful hands at the dime store handing it over for whatever I wanted in Detroit?
Copyright 2022 Jim Daniels
Jim Daniels‘s many collections of poetry include Gun/Shy (Wayne State University Press, 2021). He lives in Pittsburgh where he taught at Carnegie Mellon University as the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English.