Thursday, January 12, 2012

Good Counsel Home, 1963

The first time I saw Tula,
she was cracking an egg over
a yellow bowl the Housemother and I
had found at Goodwill that morning.

The trick is to beat it until it’s good and foamy,
she said, a matchstick dangling
off the edge of her lip, nearly falling
into our uncooked lunch.

We sat at the counter, balancing on bar stools
still funky from bleach and ammonia, slurping egg-dumpling soup,
taking reluctant bites out of apples
we’d picked up with our AFDC checks.

Tula was ready to pop, though she never complained
about the silver ribbons snaking across her gut or the
bowling ball sitting on her bladder. I saw her once, scratching her
backside, working her index finger like her ass was made outta Playdoh.

Two weeks later, Tula was on kitchen duty again.
She stood there with her deflated belly and eyes like a basset hound.
I asked if she knew who got her kid.
Sneering, she took two brown eggs, and raising

her arms high over head, she smashed
them together, the yellow yolks sliding
down her wrists, shells falling in her hair,
whispering, who the hell cares.


Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

poignant, and wonderful portrait--

lizabob said...

I do believe I know Tula! Love this poem.