Two years dead and I imagine looking over mother’s shoulder at the son who learned how to treat his mom from how I treated mine.  He’s at it again, his complaints like a repeated songbird’s call, not enough, not enough although he’s broken away and leaving on a little train.  Now I will have to face west for my daily dose of misery. 

The sun moves from window to window across the living room, going to the Pacific to sink.  I will have to let it, let both of us sink. I still see her skirt, 360 degrees of sharkskin rolling up and down like a tilt-a-whirl as she spins, a tiny woman, towering over me. How I treated her. How he treats me.  Who needs?  We need.

—Wendy Taylor Carlisle


Wendy Taylor Carlisle writes and lives in the Arkansas Ozarks in a landscape of ticks and rocks. She is not responsible in any way for her state’s Senate delegation.