“Visiting My Mother’s Wars” by E.A. Wilberton

E.A. Wilberton


My father has taken to dosing my mother with melatonin at night.
Or she would rise at 3 to watch TV and later, after dinner, not know him.
My mother stands pointing at all the flowers gone to the deer; 
look at that, they took everything, all of it, even that
she pokes one final time at a bed of moss roses.
She calls me to the vegetable garden, protected by chicken wire 
and points look at that, nothing is growing this year, 
it’s awful then tears out the cucumber.
Later, hands on hips, where’s your father? “In the garage,” I say 
and her eyes narrow, and suspicious, she calls upstairs
Bob?! You up there? Bob? He’s always disappearing.
She sits in front of a stack of books, Ugh, there are no good 
books anymore. I don’t like any of these, none of them, 
even the authors I used to love. What’s for dinner? Soup?
What’s for dinner? I look up from my book, “I think Dad is grilling.” 
He thinks he’s boss now. She sits on the couch, arms folded, 
What’s for dinner? I can defrost Minestrone.
When she’s not looking, I replant the cucumbers and point, 
“Look at how good they are doing, it’s only June.”  
My father secretly checks and double checks the stove.
After I’m gone, my mother tells my father that her ex-husband loved cars 
and his garage was filled with them. He takes her hand, 
says, “That’s me. I’m the only one.”

from Rattle #75, Spring 2022
Tribute to Librarians


E.A. Wilberton: “I have been a research librarian for a couple of decades now. I have worked in academic, public, and even a school library. I am currently an MFA in Poetry candidate at Umass-Boston, where I work as a research assistant. I started my career as a cataloger before turning to reference and other public service areas. I think it gave me great insight into the moving parts of a library, the ways we organize and structure libraries for retrieval and access. Catalogers are notoriously detail-orientated, and I think that has influenced the way I approach poetry. I might write a draft in a frenzy or a lazy spontaneity, but eventually, in revision, I consider each word and line break and punctuation. Those are the poet’s tools to organize and provide access. I feel grateful to have found both libraries and poetry; they have brought me comfort, fed my curiosity and creative drive, and have always been a safe space for not only the weird little queer kid I started out as but also the gender queer adult I grew up to be.” (web)

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