Linda Wimberly

Message from Down Under

On Wednesday, Mother’s eyes are bright blue.


She asks:

               Do you still live in Nashville?


Before I can tell her

I’ve never lived in Tennessee,

her gaze shifts to the gray-streaked window

where she watches drunken scarlet leaves dip and whirl.

She confesses her late night escape

to wander rain-slicked streets

then laughs, tells me she met a friend, danced

until yellow scribbles crawled into the lightening sky.

   

Soiled with soup and juice,

her favorite pink gown, the one she washed

on gentle cycle in cold water and Woolite,

hangs

on her dwindling body.


As caged minutes circle hollow moans

on the East Wing hall,

she crumples the sheet beneath her chin.

Her voice crashes through sticky silence

in the overheated air:

              Do you work?

            What do you do?


I lean toward her ear, say I work in the arts.

She frowns, drags words

like a serrated blade:

             How do you expect to pay for lodging doing that?


I recall similar words thirty years ago,

long before dementia began

to shutter her mind,

when she scolded, told me

to find a real job.


Somewhere in her darkness,

she remembers,

still wishes I was the daughter

she knew she would have.

Linda Wimberly is a writer, artist and musician from Marietta, GA. A former Vermont Studio Center resident in writing, her poetry has appeared in The Raw Art Review, Lunch Ticket, Stone River Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems and others and a short story appeared in Cricket. She is a self-taught abstract artist and her images have appeared in or been cover art for jelly bucket, Critical Pass Review, Inscape Magazine and others. Her image “Woman on the Move” won the 2019 Art Contest for So to Speak: feminist journal of language and art. (lindawimberly.com)