“Rehab” by David Bottoms

David Bottoms


In 308 my mother is stewing. Not because a nurse smashed 
her porcelain vase and scattered roses across the floor,

or because an aide swiped an apple salvaged from her lunch tray.

Even now from this bed, she feels dust
glazing her china cabinet, wind whistling 

under the plate glass door in the den. The chill circles her kitchen.

The furnace is off, the house trembling. The bony clock creaks 
in the shifting corner. Leaves swirl in the garage. 

In 308 my mother broods, her cracked ribs are slow to mend.

She lies on her back, hands at her side, jaw set, 
staring at the ceiling, at the blistered ceiling,

as though what she studies 

are answers written in a secret code
and not just water stains under a light fixture.

from Rattle #48, Summer 2015


David Bottoms: “I started writing poetry way back in the dark ages. Somehow early on I got the notion (probably from Robert Penn Warren) that writing poetry is a way of searching for meaning in one’s life. I’m still writing and still searching.”

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