One Summer Mother

by Marla Chalnick

I hear babies crying
windows open
sun barely set
curtains still
air silent
babies crying in the alley
Mother says I am bad
says I take advantage of her
what does that mean?
I eat supper in the bathroom
cold tile floor feels yummy
against my bare legs
toilet seat is my table
scrambled eggs are cold
I push them around the plate
lose my appetite
crying babies in the alley
I lie in bed in my underwear
My room an oven
No milk and cookies
no TV
just me wishing
I could fall asleep
babies cry in the alley
Mother says they’re cats
I don’t know any cats
they sound sad
Maybe they are starving too

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