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My Days of Wine for Breakfast

by Joan Mazza

I make oatmeal
with a pinch of nutmeg,
the way my mother likes, for her
to gaze at until it turns cold,
its surface shiny hard.

Evenings, I wheel her
into the family room,
refuse bad news on TV,
rent "Cinderella"
and "The Lady and the Tramp."
Did these movies set me up for disappointment?

I sit on the floor
next to her, laid out on the couch.
I'm a child again, laughing out loud.
Disney flies us away
from dreaded words:
colostomy, metastasized.

If she wants a hot shower and can stand,
we skip the sponge bath in her bed.
Arm around her waist,
my left hand holds her right.
We steer our way
down the short and narrow hall-
a step and a step
and a step.
She finds her voice.
"Wanna dance?"

[Third Place winner, Miriam Rachimi Memorial Prize, Poetry Society of Virginia, April 2009]

Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, sex therapist, writing coach and seminar leader. She is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam 1998), and her work has appeared in in Potomac Review, Möbius, Permafrost, Slipstream, Timber Creek Review, Writer's Digest, The Fourth River, the Minnesota Review, Personal Journaling, and Playgirl. Her chapbook "Mom's Little Destruction Book" was runner-up in the Permafrost Contest, and her poem, "When We Were Students" won 1st prize in the Skyline Magazine Summer Poetry Contest, 2007. She now writes poetry full-time in rural central Virginia. www.JoanMazza.com