“It’s the Same Old Story” by Anna Delury

Anna Delury


Over there,
where my mother faded into yellow wallpaper,
calla lilies grow from the cat’s ear.
I notice this because my head stands
alone in the corner.
My eyes follow me everywhere now.
It’s become impossible, and there’s no denying
that my baby teeth are rotten.
There’ll be no tooth fairy for me, though,
my mother wouldn’t have it.
She was a stone cold wall.
We’ve all heard this about mothers.
It’s the same old story of stationary perfection.
My father wanted it that way.
He floats still between my eyes,
floats there bloodied
from a needle’s prick that evaporated
all the time he lusted after.
He tried to stuff it back in the hall closet,
but the red oozed out under the door,
under her feet anyway.
Poverty collapsed, cracks formed.
Oh, they were small at first, but
running out of her eyes
I saw it was too late.
And it’s only natural that
chalk fell out of her mouth, only natural.
Damp and useless
he went on to sit in another wife’s coffin.
And I was left with only these unmerciful eyes of mine.
Left to watch my mother pile up in decay so rank
only the cat pokes its nose in,
looking for rats to kill.

from Rattle #1, Spring 1995


Anna Delury: “I write poetry because it gives me a way into what I think and feel.”

Rattle Logo